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Red Bulls at D.C. United: A Look Ahead



The last time New York visited RFK Stadium, Juan Carlos Osorio labeled it one of the worst performances he had ever coached. The 5-3 drubbing in that U.S. Open Cup play-in game will be something New York needs to have forgotten as they return to once again take on conference rivals D.C. United.

United, victims of poor finishing and a dubious referee decision last Saturday against New England, will rely on the comforts of home to end a five game winless streak in league play. Most of those have been draws, but to keep pace with Chicago three points are vital.

Scoring goals hasn’t been the issue this season for D.C., as they boast the second-best goal scoring mark in the league. What’s been difficult for them is keeping them out, even with the solid defensive play of Bryan Namoff and Dejan Jakovic. Containing the speedy Macoumba Kandji will no doubt be one of United’s highest priorities.

From a New York stand point, there’s no point in dwelling on their last visit to RFK. Anytime spent pondering that, and the Red Bull will already be fighting an uphill battle. Burying any lingering thoughts from that and attacking United from the opening whistle is essential.

Here is a closer look at tonight's match-up:

Players to Watch

In order for New York to achieve any success, whether this week or the rest of the season, they need Juan Pablo Angel to be at the peak of his game. Despite tallying four goals so far, Angel has missed a few opportunities that if he had converted, may have turned losses or draws into wins. It hasn’t been all Angel’s fault, however, as the service to him hasn’t been very good. A big, break out game against one of the club’s biggest rivals would do wonders for both him and the Red Bulls.

Finding an offensive rhythm early on is important for United, who have mustered just one goal in their past two games – paltry by their standards. They’ll want to quickly forget their last scoreless outing at home against Real Salt Lake, and test Jon Conway early. Striker Luciano Emilio will be out looking for an early goal that would have the Red Bulls on the ropes, ready to circle in for a knockout blow. Tenacious play from him up front would surely help to jump-start the offense into a higher gear.

Five Keys to the Game

1. Get off to a fast start – From either a United or a Red Bulls perspective, getting that first goal will be absolutely crucial. A D.C. goal will get the crowd energized and in full voice, while New York can try to silence the raucous United supporters with an early goal.

2. Finish chances – Both sides have struggled in the finishing department during this season. United has the tendency to create numerous chances, yet fail to convert – hence the number of draws. Goals win games and both teams will be out for first blood.

3. Steady keeper play – Josh Wicks seems to have a firm grasp on the number one jersey as of now. While that may change, another solid performance from him is vital – no leaking easy goals. Jon Conway, on the other hand, might be called upon to keep things close if United threaten his goal early and often.

4. Outnumber the United backline – Playing a 3-5-2 can have its pitfalls if exploited properly. The Red Bulls need to get numbers forward to try and cause confusion between the United defense and midfield as they try and mark up in transition.

5. Rely on the rookies – D.C. United rookies Rodney Wallace and Chris Pontius have both played far beyond their years to this point in 2009. Both came up big against the Red Bull up at Giants Stadium, and if they both can play a big role to help United secure three points once again.

Odds & Ends

Jeremy Hall and Rodney Wallace, teammates at the University of Maryland go up against each other for the third (and most likely final) time this season.

D.C. is undefeated at home this season, though have tied four times in six games.

Four players are unavailable for tonight’s game because of national team duty. For D.C., defender Avery John is with Trinidad & Tobago in preparation for weekend qualifiers. Jorge Rojas, Alfredo Pacheco, and Andrew Boyens are absent for the Red Bulls.

New York has yet to win a game on the road this season, posting a 0-4-1 record away from Giants Stadium.


What do you think of tonight's match-up? Can the Red Bulls get a result at RFK, or will D.C. continue to dominate their rivals from up north?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. My prediction:

    1) JCO plays a 4-5-1 & we lose 4-0.

    2) DC move sto St Louis at year’s end & we have a good laugh at them.

  2. The conditions down here are awful. There might be a respite in the rain during the match, dunno. But it’ll be chilly and very wet.

    Win, lose or draw, I expect an ugly match.

  3. at the watercooler/ tomorrow, which team will we say was more awful this week? usmnt or rbny?

    on a positive note, even if rbny suck forever, maybe the new stadium will become the american wembley.

  4. We don’t lack confidence, what we do lack, is a good team. I’ve believed in these guys way too hard and way too much, and they let me down each time. My only hope of winning comes from a home game. In a stretch of 4 HOME games, how many have we won? This team makes it hard for me to be confident …

  5. It has been tough watching the Bulls this year…but nothing would be better than beating the Scum on their own turf to turn the season around. Go Red Bulls and to hell with the Union (bunch of commies)!

  6. A look ahead: RBNY 0 DCU 3

    As a RB fan it’s not a lack of confidence. It’s a reality check.

    We are terrible. We need 8 new players – at least. This offseason was a joke. Like our defense and central midfield.

    After 13 years of suffering, I may have had it. Hey, just realized I was born in Philly (though raised in Jersey.)

    C’mon UNION!

  7. Trying to analyze this objectively as I can…

    1. JCO should not make the mistake of playing Kandji. If he’s got a hamstring problem, you don’t want to play him on a slippery surface. It will rain this afternoon, the grass is already pretty wet and by mid-game, expect patches of mud and some puddles in places. Play Kandji in this match and risk not having him for a month.

    2. Good match for Rojas to be available. With no Olsen, Rojas should have space and time on the ball. When he has that, he’s a fine player and provides service that allows Angel to look good.

    3. I wonder if JCO plays a 3-5-2? Or a 4-5-1? If he does either of those two, he’s outthinking himself again. Since DCU will likely play a 3-5-2, you’d think you’d want to match up numbers in midfield. But all that congestion removes space for Rojas and effectively neutralizes him. Far better to have numbers up top to stretch the field.

    Dane Richards has had a bad season but I’d start him up top with Angel (and leave Kandji completely on the bench rather than risk agravating his hamstring). I’d play a 442 with the RedBulls (and that would probably mean Celedes on the bench as well).

  8. Well, be prepared for another loss Metro fans. I’m sure you have been expecting it all along though. I know I am. I have no hope to grab a win.

    I love my boys but, they are just plain awful this year. We have no chance to win this one, especially with Rojas and Pacheco out of the lineup.

  9. nice onekireDCU. the “pink cows” is *hilarious*. here’s to the upset, those bulls destroying dc POOPNITED!

  10. I just pulled up accuweather to see what the weather will be tonight and there’s rain in every single 2 hour time slot, from 3pm-1am. Hey, just like last year!

    The heavier the rain the better for the Pink Cows but the odds are still with United.

  11. and cause i know you all want proof of this from the club

    “Rojas, back from a two-game ban after a red card against Houston May 16, is available against D.C., thanks to an agreement between the Venezuelan national team and the Red Bulls….”

    “Kandji, who has played both up front and as an attacking midfielder, has a left hamstring strain… There is still an outside chance Kandji could join the team, but Osorio isn’t counting on him.”

    Cant believe sbi let this get by them.

  12. Rojas is playing Kandji is probably not, but we wont know until later. Rojas will leave for national team duty tomorrow. Reported by redbull and Brian Lewis yesterday.

  13. Damn, sorry to see Boyens out for this match… I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Boyzzz & Pontius repeatedly torch him in the Open Cup play-in at RFK.

  14. I mean you heard it from Ives himself – No Jorge. Rojas caused a lot of problems the last two games vs. DC. There is a lot of rain too – maybe having a factor.

  15. Nope Jorge is gone to Venezuela for the World Cup Qualifier. We could have used him in this game too.

    Hey Ives, who do you see getting the nod at Left Back for the Red Bulls with Pacheco on Int. Duty? Is Borman the only real option?

  16. DC should dominate. Most of their squad is Quaranta are finding great form. Their attacking ability is stronger than the

    Red Bulls can handle.

    The good news for Ives is that there will be power in the press room!


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