NY Red Bulls Blast Past Shellshocked D.C. United
Mike Petke's men looked like a team on a mission in Sunday's comprehensive 2-0 victory over D.C. United in Red Bull Arena. Brian Sciaretta offers insights on the contest.
BY Brian Sciaretta PostedTHE NEW YORK RED BULLS put on a terrific performance in Sunday's 2-0 win over arch-rival D.C. United in the first leg of its Eastern Conference Semifinal series. Just days after dethroning Sporting Kansas City, New York is playing with surprising intensity and is in prime position to now send the top team in the Eastern Conference packing. The opening half was an entertaining affair with back and forth action that saw high-quality opportunities from both teams. It wasn’t until the 40th minute the scoreless draw was broken in memorable fashion. The sequence began with Lloyd Sam making a run up the middle. His crisp pass into the box found Thierry Henry who then made a play that showed why he is one of the most visionary players of his generation. The Frenchman quickly made a blind backheel pass that Péguy Luyindula dummied and instead let roll to an onrushing Bradley Wright-Phillips. The MLS Golden Boot winner made no mistake with the finish past a helpless Bill Hamid. It was Wright-Phillips' third goal of the postseason—a worthy followup to his record-tying 27 goals in the regular season. In the second half, the Red Bulls created chance after chance only to just come up short of a second goal. In the 73rd minute, however, the home team put the contest out of reach. Again, it was Henry who displayed his magical flair. Standing just inside his own half, it seemed as if he was not in position to make a dangerous play. But he took one dribble into the middle of the field and hit a magnificent long ball that found Luyindula making a perfectly timed run past the D.C. United defense. With an impeccable first touch, the 35-year-old Frenchman moved in on Hamid and calmly hit a low shot into the net for a 2-0 lead. With away goals now a factor, D.C. will feel tremendous pressure next weekend in the 2nd leg at RFK Stadium. If the Red Bulls can manage just one goal on the road—which seems likely considering its high-powered offense—D.C. will need to score four to advance to the next round.
November 03, 2014
November 03, 2014
THE COACH OF THE YEAR DEBATE in MLS this year centers on Ben Olsen, Bruce Arena, Sigi Schmid, Oscar Pareja, and even Jay Heaps. Mike Petke, however, is having a remarkable season and deserves consideration too. No, the Red Bulls were not in contention for the Supporters' Shield—which the team won in 2013—but the coach faced numerous challenges this year and showed tremendous resolve to overcome them.