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

Red Bulls Celebrate (TonyQuinnISI)

Photo by Tony Quinn/



The tones in the two RFK Stadium locker rooms told the story. One a jubilant scene, smiles all around, high-fives left and right; The other a morbid place, deathly silent, as players coped with what's becoming the norm.

Those descriptions are common for the annual Atlantic Cup battle held in the nation's capital, but the locker rooms have swapped.

Led by second-half goals from Salou Ibrahim and Juan Pablo Angel, the New York Red Bulls exorcised yet another demon during the 2010 season on Saturday, defeating rival D.C. United, 2-0, and matching the team's win total from all of 2009.

For New York, the win at RFK marked the team's first in five years. For D.C., the loss sealed the franchise's worst-ever start (0-5). The Eastern Conference landscape isn't what it once was anymore.

"It's unbelievable," said New York winger Dane Richards, who set up Ibrahim's 51st-minute goal with a cross from the right. "Last year you could drop a pin and hear it the way the locker room was quiet. Now everybody's talking, laughing, jumping up and down. I'm loving it."

The Red Bulls have reason to be excited. They've already won two road games after not winning any in 2009, and they sit comfortably atop the Eastern Conference standings with 15 points through six matches.

"Last year was tough," said right back Jeremy Hall, who contributed to the Red Bulls' third clean sheet of the season. "It was tough coming into the locker room. People didn't want to talk, they still had sad faces on and whatnot. We're happy for ourselves right now. We're playing well."

The striker tandem of Ibrahim and Angel have seemingly found a rhythm to complement the team's defensive and midfield efforts.

Angel, who dipped back into the midfield at times, helped create Ibrahim's goal. After a D.C. turnover, Angel moved the ball down the pitch before spotting Richards on his right.

The Clemson product juked inside defender Rodney Wallace, cut toward the box and played a cross to the near post. Ibrahim's attempt to one-time the pass was deflected, but the ball stayed in a favorable position for the Ghanaian forward, who tapped it in off the right post for the opening goal and his second tally of the season.

"The two forwards up top, they set the tone for us," Hall said.

Nine minutes later, Angel was on the receiving end of a routine long free kick from Joel Lindpere. He rose up above D.C. centerback Juan Manuel Pena and flicked a header past a flat-footed Troy Perkins to deflate United's spirit and double New York's lead.

"This has always been a very tough place for us to win," Angel said. "We're just delighted that we keep getting results. It's phenomenal. … We're believing in ourselves, we're battling in every game, we're showing character, and we're stealing points pretty much everywhere, and that's a great feeling."

D.C. would hardly recognize a great feeling. Aside from the team's U.S. Open Cup triumph over fellow-winless FC Dallas, United has had its league games fall into a similar, disturbing pattern: Start well, create some chances, fail to finish, fall apart after halftime.

United was the better team in the first half, forcing New York keeper Bouna Coundoul into making a couple of heroic saves. Clyde Simms' point-blank header off a Kurt Morsink through-ball was the home team's best shot at going ahead, but Coundoul was up to the task and positioned himself well to deny the midfielder.

D.C. maintained its shape, moved the ball well and was able to silence New York's attack through the halftime whistle. Then the reminders of the winless start begin to make their impact.

"In the second half I think we feel like we have to win the game, and we get a little on edge," United midfielder Santino Quaranta said. "We don't get the goal yet, and we start to lose our shape a little bit. We throw more numbers forward, and we get a little desperate, and that's normal when you're 0-4. You give up a goal, guys heads go down, and we never got a chance to get it back."

Not even the re-introduction of Luciano Emilio in the 66th minute could invigorate United's attack or the paltry crowd of 12,089 on a gorgeous afternoon, as the team stalled out, accepted its fate and became a shutout victim for the fourth time in five matches.

Things don't get any easier either, as coach Curt Onalfo's former team, an improved Kansas City side, comes into RFK on Wednesday looking to replicate its 4-0, season-opening drubbing of the league's cellar dweller. 

"There's not a whole lot of positives to take," Onalfo said. "We're 0-5, we just lost in front of our home crowd again, 2-0, and that's unacceptable."


  1. i was kidding about arsenal, guess u didn’t catch that. you’re right, arsenal will end up if greece IF HE’S LUCKY!! could be worse though….he could end up in mexico…

  2. Is Henry one step closer to NYRB?
    From Barcelona’s Laporta,

    “He still has a one-year contract with us, but after a disappointing year I do not know what he will do,” Laporta was quoted as saying in an interview with Sport.

    “In Barcelona we respect contracts, but he probably has not done as well as he wanted. Therefore, I say that he may go away in the summer transfer window if that’s what he wants.”

    The attacker is continually being linked with a move to the USA, with New York Red Bulls supposedly sitting in pole position to secure the services of Henry this summer.

  3. with our luck, the USMNT will be playing a 3rd place match in the World Cup on that day, and everybody will be locked into that.


  4. Did I forget to mention the pooping in the urinals that’s coming up at RBA on July 10? Did I really?

  5. Common thing that happens with lefties. A friend used to write right but was always kicking lefty.

    He used to be able to write with his left and one day decide to use his right.

  6. You’re a realist & you think Altidore is going to Arsenal?????????? He’s more likely to end up in Greece with E-Bay EJ and forty year old Freddy.

  7. First, the rookies are unpolished…they did well against a philly side consisting of losers (sorry to be so harsh), but how will they do when its mid season, and we’re leveling out and the pressure is on for results against teams like houston, seattle (if they get their crap together), and LA?? I would absolutely not call it depth. That game was nothing but hungry rookies taking on a tired team with nothing to play for.
    Second, I agree with madkinggeorge, hans backe is doing well…and maybe the whole european coaches not succeeding in MLS is untrue, but lets remember something….. IT HAS ONLY BEEN 5 GAMES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    ok, so whats my point? My point is that we should not talk crap about teams like philly and DC because we COULD just be a few injuries away from the same fate. Its not RBNY pessimism, its a realistic NY’er calling it like it is.


  8. Did you see the Open Cup game against Philly? We actually have a LOT of depth on our team. Some of it is still a bit unpolished (Tchani, Chinn, Garcia) as compared to the first squad, but that’s to be expected on any MLS team.

  9. I know it’s early, Joe — boy, RBNY pessimism runs deep — but I’m with MadKingGeorge. My preseason optimism about Backe and Soler (and you could look it up in SBI’s archives, as Casey Stengel might have said) is looking pretty good. Sure, RBNY may hit the skids. But you only have to listen to the players, and watch them play, to see that this is a fully professional side now.

  10. What happened to all the talk that Foreign Coaches could not come into MLS and have success since the format is so different. Hans Backe is starting to punch holes into that theory. I know it is early, but HB will show that quality managers will have success no matter if you are familiar with the MLS or not.

  11. Curt has said it’s unfortunate and nothing big from the higher ups.

    Doesn’t help their appearances that we have something like $600,000 worth of unused salary money sitting in the bank….

  12. I am as happy as any fan to see our red bulls finally NOT stink…but something keeps me apprehensive…perhaps its that richards can at any moment start to be a useless speedy flopper like last year, or that the 23 year old dane may not work out, or if joel lindpere gets hurt, we don’t have a decent substitute that could step up, or an integral part of our central defense is one trip away from a broken hip…lets not get ahead of ourselves…we have a LONG season ahead of us, and no quality depth on our bench…its gonna be like walking a tightrope. i hope that the open cup really helps our rookies develop so they can step in and help, cause lets face it, teams that really succeed have depth….and we dont.

  13. I world rather not look back at the match with Red Bulls.

    I would prefer to forward the the replacement of Kevin Payne, Dave kaspar and Curt Onalfo…

  14. my brother throws righty and kicks lefty. his theory is that he’s a natural left-hander but our dad forced him to write and throw with his right hand. but yeah, he’s an odd duck for sure. no idea about coundoul.

  15. I think of Richie Williams as a genius now because he turned down the DCU gig. I wonder if he saw the writing on the wall and knew that NY would be a better place to be an assistant rather than be a head coach at DCU.

    (SBI-Williams didn’t turn down D.C. It was actually D.C. that basically passed on him.)

  16. You know what Josh D, I never considered that as a legitimate possibility. But from the outside perspective of a non-DC supporter, the situation is starting to get that sort of feeling. Has the board/ownership spoken up at all about results and the current performances being unacceptable? I don’t live in the area, but I haven’t heard a peep from ownership.

  17. For any players or ex-players out there: Coundoul throws left-handed but kicks right-footed. Is that common? Could this mismatch between throwing and kicking explain some of his kicking problems?

  18. Maybe DC needs to make this a true re-build, although it may be a little early to throw in the towel. Najar , Graye , Barry Rice, Andrew Quinn and Hamid are all “true” rookies. Pontius, Wallace and Barklage are beginning there 2nd year. That’s 8 young talents to build on. Why not let them gain experience this year, play them often, while the FO looks for Senior/International talent for the post WC transfer rush? It certainly can’t be any worse than it is right now, and giving young talent the experience will help next season (wherever DCU is playing)

  19. I have not heard such Shakespearean prose since Fly Guy’s speech in ‘I’m Gonna Git You Sucka’. Bravo.

  20. Thanks Ive’s – you’re a class act. I’m sure it’s hard for you not to enjoy the ‘home team’ – i.e. gloat.

    But, regardless – as always top-notch site.

  21. Because we’re a nice team and have decided that we’ll give the rest of the league’s teams time to catch up to our titles and trophies… Then we’ll be competitive again.

    That or the board are purposely p*ssing away the team so that they can sell it off to St. Louis.

  22. As a NY fan I’m happy about beating DC, but if DC were a better team, they would have been leading 3-0 at the half. NY gave them way too many chances.

  23. Ok, but let’s be honest. The poem was very well written & contained no obscenities. That said, it’s your site.

    (SBI-I get that it’s payback time and all but I always try to make this a place where things don’t get out of hand. All fans deserve respect, at least that’s how we try to keep things on SBI, and just as I tried to keep the trolls at bay last year during New York’s nightmare season, I think it’s only fair that D.C. get the same fair treatment.)

  24. (SBI-Smith, I appreciate banter among rivals as much as the next guy, but all you’ve done for days now is be a troll having a go at D.C. fans. I’d suggest taking that stuff elsewhere or reining it in about 99 percent.)

  25. @Matty – Richards is indeed still frustrating but watch closely. In the past couple of weeks, he has started to finish his crosses. He is suddenly becoming a legitmate weapon on the right wing.

    Juan Pablo signed a three-year extension last year (2009), so he’s here through the 2011 season. By then, he’ll be 36 and I’m guessing will want to go home. We have another two years of JPA, yay for us!

  26. I really can’t relive this win often enough. If DC moves to Baltimore or St. Loo, this was likely our last game ever there. What a great way to go.

    I particulatry enjoyed Jamie Moreno huffing & puffing like he was having a heart attack as he ran up & down the field.

    I also enjoyed Ben also sitting on the sideline counting the days till he gets Onalfo’s job.

  27. Dane Richards is so frustrating. He has pace to get past defenders and can show skill at times, but you can tell he is still lost and is hardly on the same page as his strikers for the most part.

    Does JPA stay after this year? I’ve heard that he wants to end his career with River. Is he on contract till next year?

  28. “gorgeous afternoon”? You must have been watching on TV. I was sweating my @$$ off in the stadium. The heat was oppressive.


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