Hans Backe hit the nail on the head as two of the New York Red Bulls most valuable workhorses combined for three goals en route to an impressive 3-2 victory over rival DC United in front of a record setting, capacity crowd of 25,187 fans.
Though any victory over DC United is celebrated by the Red Bulls, this particular win, which saw New York fight back from a one goal deficit in the first minute of play, was especially sweet for Barklage and Solli. “It took four years,” Barklage explained. “But it feels unbelievable. Against the team that told me at the end of the year last year that I couldn’t cut it there. So it feels unbelievable.”
The Red Bulls’ wingback was cut by DC United after suffering an injury plagued start to his career. With New York, he has bounced back in dramatic fashion, driven by the snub of his former team and taking full advantage of his playing time en route to earning minutes as a regular starter for the team. That drive was on full display in the first of his two goals (his first goals as a professional) as he beat a flat footed Dwayne De Rosario on a corner kick, dashing into the box and connecting for the game tying notch.
“There is a lot of history in D.C. for me,” he said. “I have a lot of ties there. Kudos to them, they’re having a great year, luckily they didn’t come here and get one point or three points. We’re just happy as a team that we came away with three [point].”
His second goal came in added time of the first half. Converted centerback Rafa Marquez sent a free kick into the wall just inside the box. Barklage followed the soaring rebound and timed a perfect shot that beat DC keeper Bill Hamid to the far post for the go-ahead goal.
Not to be outdone, long time New York wingback turned midfielder Jan Gunnar Solli found the back of the net for the first time in his Red Bull career. “I just felt good and the way we did it bouncing back from a rough start,” he said. “And I think the first half we showed everyone that this is a great team. And when we possessed it and keeping the ball with the team, I think we could have had two more goals in the first half. I think that would be fair, but that’s how it is.”
It was no secret Solli was hungry for his first goal as a Red Bull. He has been buzzing around the net in his limited midfield opportunities all season, searching for his chances whensoever it may come. He followed a direct rebound into Hamid’s chest and managed to ping the upright en route to the back of the net. It wasn’t easy, but the celebration afterwards displayed just how meaningful the moment was for him and his long time teammates.
The victory has vaulted New York into a first place tie with DC United in the Eastern Conference with a game in hand.