On Sunday, two of the original ten teams meet head on in third and final installment of this season’s Atlantic Cup derby.

Match Preview: D.C. United v. New York Red Bulls

With the series already won by the Red Bulls, the two very bitter rivals will be playing for more than just pride on the line this time around.

For the Red Bulls, it’s all about staying ahead of Atlanta United in the race for the Supporters Shield trophy, and with it, home field advantage throughout the playoffs. And should they go even farther, possibly hosting MLS Cup Final in December. The good news: After playing through a brutal five matches in fifteen days stretch, the Red Bulls are well-rested after a two week break.

For D.C. United, this match is crucial to gain valuable points to claim the final spot for the playoffs. With six remaining matches at Audi Field, what better way to accomplish that feat than to do it at your hated rival’s expense.

Players To Watch:

Luciano Acosta

He scored the first ever goal at the new home of D.C. United, and since then, he’s been an abject terror for defenses since Wayne Rooney arrived (more on him later). The Red Bulls’ backline would be wise to keep a keen eye on him to make certian he doesn’t make an impact, especially from long range, where the man known as “Lucho” loves to launch one of his trademark goals into the back of the net.

Wayne Rooney

Since his arrival, Rooney made the offense a little more dangerous. He may be a little slower to some, but don’t you dare mistake his lack of pace, or his quailty especially on free kicks from distance, for he’s known to score a few of them in spectacular fashion during his stellar career. Last time he faced New York, the defense kept him in check at Red Bull Arena, should they want to win on the road, they would have to keep it that way.

Two teams with over two decades of hatred and history meet up in the District once again, for both the fanbases involved, nothing more than attaining three points at referee’s final whistle will suffice.

Photo by Bill Twomey Photography

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