D.C United vs the New York Red Bulls produced some epic and contentious affairs since the rivalry began in 1996. From Eddie Gaven’s goalkeeping heroics at RFK to Alecko Eskandarian’s infamous sip of Red Bull and all the way to Kenny Cooper’s retaken penalty kick in the playoffs, it’s an understatement to say this matchup has history.
New Venue, Same Animosity- New York Red Bulls vs DC United Preview
Naturally over the course of 22 years, new chapters were written as both teams took on new iterations of themselves. On Wednesday night, the rivalry once again enters a new era as D.C hosts the first meeting between the two at their newly built, Audi Field.
When the 2018 MLS season began, Audi Field was not completed, forcing D.C. to play 12 of their first 14 games on the road. In turn, the Red Bulls’ 2018 campaign is going swimmingly compared to D.C United’s. Twenty-four points separate the two in the Eastern Conference, the Red Bulls in 3rd place on 38 points while D.C United sit dead last with 14 points.
Having been the worst team in MLS for the past year and a half, D.C. enlisted former England international star Wayne Rooney to reinvigorate the club as they start anew at Audi Field. Even with the energy of a stadium and DP, the Red Bulls hold the upper hand. In their last ten meetings, the Red Bulls carry a 5-1-4 record. With two late wins against Sporting Kansas City and the New England Revolution, Chris Armas’ side will be favorites in the first installment of the 2018 Atlantic Cup.
Players to Watch
Five years ago today, the New York Red Bulls signed Bradley Wright-Phillips. He spent most of his playing days in the lower levels of English soccer. At first glance, nobody would have thought the trialist would become the best goal scorer in club and arguably MLS history. Here he is, just one goal away from hitting the century mark in MLS goals, all while having another historic year. With 13 goals in 16 matches started, BWP is just one place behind Josef Martinez in the golden boot race. On Wednesday night a goal at D.C would be historic for many reasons, especially if BWP’s prediction for his 100th goal comes true, “a bicycle kick from the halfway line”.
Asad’s first season in MLS exceeded expectations. He scored 7 times and notched 13 assists for Atlanta United. Going from a top team to the worst team in MLS, Asad is still having another great year with 8 goals and 3 assists. The 24-year-old is clinical in front of goal with just 13 shots on target. Asad will have a tough test against the Red Bulls backline, even with Wayne Rooney pulling the strings in the midfield. On the ball, the Argentine likes to create from the left side. Without it he likes to make runs across and behind the center backs. Asad provided the sole bright spot for D.C United this season, his name will forever be in the record books as the first player to score at Audi Field.
Photo by Bill Twomey Photography