Top Stories

D.C. United 2, Red Bulls 0: A Look Back



By Travis Clark 

At times it wasn’t the prettiest display of soccer, but D.C. United managed to grind out a much-needed win last Thursday against the New York Red Bulls. The result was a welcome difference from the draws that were becoming commonplace at RFK Stadium.  Coach Tom Soehn was content, despite his team being far from their best. 

“It wasn’t our best soccer day, and we didn’t create our normal chances, but at least we were opportunistic with the ones we did,” he said after the game. 

With rain falling throughout the match, players on both sides had a hard time maintaining solid footing. The slick turf made it difficult to keep possession, and in the second half the rain picked up to a heavy down pour.

United came out in their usual 3-5-2, but with a bit of a twist – Rodney Wallace, who has started all but one game this season as a winger, dropped down as a holding midfielder. Fellow rookie Chris Pontius joined Santino Quaranta as the other outside midfielder. 

“We’re still trying to figure out all the pieces and what we can get out of everybody. At the time it was our best eleven,” Soehn explained. 

One thing Soehn has done all season is use a variety of players in different of positions. He barks orders and moves players around during the match, like instructing Quaranta and Pontius to swap sides.  

Watching D.C. closely, you’ll notice a lot of interchange like that is common. This no doubt keeps opposition defenders off balance and gives him more options when filling in the lineup card. It’s undoubtedly a luxury for Soehn to have so many versatile and talented options. 

Juan Carlos Osorio came out with his own 3-5-2. They handled the proceedings well, with Jorge Rojas looking dangerous in the attacking midfield, while Seth Stammler and Albert Celades performed adequately. Also impressive was second half substitute Nick Zimmerman, who made his MLS debut as a second half substitute.  

You could tell what this game meant to coach Osorio – he could be seen pacing the sidelines for much of the match, barking orders and making dramatic gestures. While that may be his typical demeanor, when a pass would go astray or a call wouldn’t go his way, it was evident that he was far from pleased. 

Neither team seemed to be able to grab a hold of the proceedings in the game’s early stages, largely influenced by the weather. On one Rojas free kick, a number of players couldn’t keep their footing and flopped over in the box, though the ball was harmlessly cleared. 

The Red Bulls were a much better side than their previous trip to RFK, but their failure to capitalize on their few chances doomed them to defeat. Perhaps their best opportunity of the game went to Danleigh Borman, who found himself unmarked and wide open in front of Wicks, yet failed to do anything but stumble all over himself and ended up getting tackled by the gargantuan goalie.  

Angel had a late chance to equalize but his shot was snuffed out by a nice reaction save from Wicks. The United keeper, making his third consecutive league start, was happy with his own performance. 

“Personally, I played solid,” he said. “We were able to keep a shutout as a defense, and I felt that I had another good game for my own liking.” 

The play of Wicks is one of the biggest takeaways from Thursday’s game. He held a commanding presence in the box, further cementing his status as his side’s number one. Along with the save on Borman, he parried away a long-range strike off Zimmerman’s boot, and snuffed Angel’s late chance to ensure a United win. His recent steady play surely buries any talk of a goalie merry-go-round – at least for the time being. 

By the time Jaime Moreno’s penalty kick beat Jon Conway, the result was all but over. In the last ten minutes United began to lag, and it looked for a minute like the Red Bulls might find an equalizer. Closing games out, an issue that has already plagued D.C. this season, could be a concern later on. But for now, they climb within two points of Chicago in the East. 

As for New York, it’s the same old story – decent play, putting together some good possession, but lacking in the finishing department. Borman has to do better when wide open in and goal, and Angel must bury that chance late in the game. It’s times like these where you wonder what will happen to coach Osorio as the season trudges along. They’ve got a brutal schedule ahead in June and July and things may get worse before they get better.


  1. I’m so tired of the fire fans brining up osorio.

    Great he left the fire to come to new york. Boo Hoo chicago.

    Yeah karma’s a bitch because now we are losing every game with osorio as coach, but you know what he still left you guys to come to our crappy franchise so i guess that means that Mr. Osorio valued his position as fire head coach as something worse less than a piece of crap.

  2. Even though I am not a “fan” of NYRB, as an avid reader of this site, I must say that morbid curiosity combined with a lack of NYRB news is making me very curious about what is happening with the NYRB organization. I am also interested in how this article was not written by Ives, and that we have yet to see Ives comment on either this or the 4-0 drubbing at the hands of New England.

    Does he know something that he cannot discuss until the team makes an official announcement? Is he still trying to recuperate from his trip to Costa Rica? Has Ives already been hired as the new coach for the NYRB?

  3. This “look back” has surely been superseded by the game against New England. The RedBulls are in bad shape; how about some reporting on what they might be doing to remedy the situation (such as firing JCO and Agoos).


Leave a Comment