By AVI CREDITOR
WASHINGTON – The New York Red Bulls won their fifth game in six matches – equaling their win total of a season ago – as second-half goals by Salou Ibrahim and Juan Pablo Angel lifted the Red Bulls to a 2-0 Atlantic Cup victory over rival D.C. United at RFK Stadium.
The matchup between I-95 enemies displayed two teams going in opposite directions. Historically proud United (0-5) is off to the worst start in franchise history, while historically tortured New York sits comfortably atop the Eastern Conference standings.
Ibrahim followed up his own shot in the 51st minute by tapping in a ball inches from the goal line to open the scoring. Ibrahim received a cross from Dane Richards, who was a difference maker on the right flank in the second half, and had his initial shot blocked before capitalizing on the easy opportunity.
Nine minutes later, Angel was on the receiving end of a routine long free kick from Joel Lindpere. He out-jumped Juan Manuel Pena in the box, and headed home his fourth goal of the season to double New York's lead.
United came out with a palpable sense of confidence after Wednesday's U.S. Open Cup triumph, creating chances and having the edge in the run of play in the first half. The same problems that have haunted the team throughout the first month of the season resurfaced, though, as the team couldn't put together a finishing sequence in the final third.
Bouna Coundoul had something to do with that. He stuffed a point-blank Clyde Simms header in the 16th minute, saved a close-range Adam Cristman header in the 36th minute and denied Simms again on a lob attempt two minutes into the second half.
Luciano Emilio marked his return to D.C. by entering as a 66th-minute substitute, but he was unable to make an immediate impact, as New York's defense smothered United – a shutout victim for the fourth time in five matches - in the second half en route to its third clean sheet of the 2010 campaign.
What did you think of the match? Amazed that New York has already matched its win total from a year ago? What does D.C. United need to do to salvage its season, or is it too late?
Share your thoughts below.