Samindra Kunti – Lloyd Sam put the New York Red Bulls ahead after eight minutes. He cheekily lobbed Bill Hamid with a cross-shot. The visiting goalkeeper promptly got a hand to the ball, but referee Juan Guzman correctly observed that the ball had crossed the goal line in its entirety. In the opening exchanges of the game Sam´s pace and liveliness had already unsettled his direct opponent James Riley and the DC backline. It would be a feature throughout the first half.
While Sam and Jonny Steele were very industrious on the wings for Red Bulls, DC United threatened seriously for the first time after 27 minutes with a beautifully crafted attack on the right channel but Lewis Neal blasted De Rosario´s low cross just wide. The visitors did equalize in the 36th minute: De Rosario´s cross from the left found DeLeon completely unmarked. MLS debutant Carney sprinted to cover ground, but DeLeon cut past Carney with his right foot in a Bergkamp-esque style to slam it in from close range with his other foot.
DC United´s joy was short-lived. Australian international Tim Cahill restored the lead for the hosts two minutes leader with a powerful , downward header from Steele´s nifty cross. It was the Australian´s eight goal of the MLS-campaign, making him New York Red Bulls´ top scorer this MLS-campaign. Bradley Wright-Philips nearly extended the New York Red Bulls´ advantage before the break but his glancing header went wide.
The visitors came out of the dressing room refreshed and immediately seized the initiative: Luis Robles spilled De Rosario´s curling attempt, but managed to smother it before further danger could ensue. In the 51st minute Luis Silva, the midfield spine of DC United, hit the woodwork with a header. With the pressure mounting on the home defence , Tim Cahill signalled he was in need of substitution. The Australian, putting in a formidable performance slightly up field, left the field with a right ankle injury for Thierry Henry.
The Frenchman made an immediate impact injecting pace and firepower into his team. He first curled a shot just past the bottom right corner before the omnipresent Sam got Henry in a good position, but the number 14 was unable to direct his header. In a horrible mix-up between Robles and defender Ibrahim Sekagya, the latter felled De Rosario. Referee Guzman pointed to the spot and sent Sekagya packing. Robles saved De Rosario´s nonchalantly taken penalty with a save to his right-hand side.
Petke made his intentions clear after Sekagya´s sending off in bringing on James Olave for Bradley Wright-Phillips. It was Robles´s save that would prove to be the difference between the two teams as the Red Bulls bastion held firm.
The New York Red Bulls, in defeating old rivals D.C United, not only won the Atlantic Cup, but moved up to 42 points. A good tally in the race for a play-off spot. A sigh of relief was tangible around the Red Bulls Arena at the end of an intense, but victorious evening for the New York Red Bulls.
New York Red Bulls 2, D.C. United 1
August 31, 2013 – Red Bull Arena – Harrison, NJ
MLS Regular Season
NY: Lloyd Sam 3 (Tim Cahill 4) 8’
DCU: Nick DeLeon 1 (Dwayne De Rosario 2) 36’
NY: Tim Cahill 8 (Jonny Steele 5) 38’
New York Red Bulls (12-9-6, 42 points) – Luis Robles, Brandon Barklage (Kosuke Kimura 33’), Markus Holgersson, Ibrahim Sekagya, David Carney, Lloyd Sam, Eric Alexander, Dax McCarty, Jonny Steele, Tim Cahill (Thierry Henry 58’), Bradley Wright-Phillips (Jamison Olave 76’)
D.C. United (3-18-5, 14 points) – Bill Hamid, James Riley, Chris Korb, Daniel Woolard, Dejan Jakovic, Perry Kitchen, Lewis Neal (Conor Doyle 67’), Nick DeLeon (Collin Martin 80’), Jared Jeffrey (John Thorrington 18’), Dwayne De Rosario, Luis Silva
Referee: Juan Guzman