WASHINGTON – Two goals and an assist from Thierry Henry and jaw-dropper from Juan Agudelo led the New York Red Bulls to a 4-0 win over archrivals D.C. United on Thursday night at RFK Stadium.
As the two sides kicked off a new edition of the Atlantic Cup in front of a crowd of 18,052, it was Henry who shone bright in his first foray into one of the oldest rivalries in MLS, tallying twice in the first half.
New York took the lead early on a well-worked team goal. Dane Richards flicked a long ball into space for on-rushing right back Jan Gunnar Solli, who lofted in a cross that Henry headed past United goalie Bill Hamid in the game’s 12th minute.
With the lead, New York were able to keep their shape and weather the few attacks D.C. United sent forward. Charlie Davies and Josh Wolff looked lively in bursts, but couldn’t create any dangerous chances in the first half.
In the 38th minute, Henry again doubled New York’s lead. Richards found Solli in an advanced position once again. Solli took the ball inside the box, muscled DC defender Marc Burch off the ball, and his deflected cross ended up in front of Henry, who powered it home.
Trailing 2-0 at halftime, DC head coach replaced Dax McCarty with Branko Boskovic for Dax McCarty in hopes of adding an attacking edge to the midfield.
While the moved paid off and the majority of possession favored United, the Black-and-Red failed to test New York goalie Bouna Coundoul until the 73rd minute, when Boskovic slammed a 35-yard bullet onto the crossbar.
As United threw numbers forward in search of a goal, New York capitalized on the counter and added a third goal in the 76th minute. Defender Rafa Marquez sprung Henry with a pass from the back. The forward collected the ball, drew a DC defender, and sent a long ball over the top to Joel Lindpere. The Estonian dribbled into DC’s box, got rid of Clyde Simms with a nifty move, and beat a sprawling Hamid.
United had numerous chances to grab a consolation goal in the game’s dying minutes, again through Boskovic. The Montenegrin found a bad clearance from the New York defense and drove a low shot that hit the post.
With the game in stoppage time, the Red Bulls launched a final attack that ended in a Goal of the Week-candidate from Agudelo. Solli again blazed forward along the right flank and sent a low cross into the box. The teenage forward flicked the ball up on the roll and half-volleyed to the far post to put the nail in the coffin.
With their third consecutive win, New York (3-1-2) take the top spot in the Eastern Conference. They will now return home, where they will host Sporting KC on April 30.
D.C. United, meanwhile, fall to a 2-3-1 record. They will next travel to take on the Houston Dynamo on April 29.
NY -- Thierry Henry 2 (Jan Gunnar Solli 2, Dane Richards 2) 12
NY -- Thierry Henry 3 (Jan Gunnar Solli 3, Dane Richards 3) 38
NY -- Joel Lindpere 1 (Thierry Henry 2, Rafael Marquez 1) 76
NY -- Juan Agudelo 2 (Jan Gunnar Solli 4, Mehdi Ballouchy 1) 92+
New York Red Bulls -- Bouna Coundoul, Jan Gunnar Solli, Tim Ream, Rafael Marquez, Roy Miller, Dane Richards (Mehdi Ballouchy 67), Teemu Tainio, Dwayne De Rosario, Joel Lindpere, Luke Rodgers (Juan Agudelo 75), Thierry Henry (Carl Robinson 81).
Substitutes Not Used: Matt Kassel, Stephen Keel, John Rooney, Greg Sutton.
D.C. United -- Bill Hamid, Chris Korb (Santino Quaranta 70), Perry Kitchen, Dejan Jakovic, Marc Burch, Fred, Dax McCarty (Branko Boskovic 46), Clyde Simms, Chris Pontius, Josh Wolff, Charlie Davies (Joseph Ngwenya 60).
Substitutes Not Used: Brandon Barklage, Andy Najar, Ethan White, Pat Onstad.
Referee: Jorge Gonzalez
Referee's Assistants: Greg Barkey; Matthew Kreitzer
4th Official: Andrew Chapin
Weather: Partly Cloudy and 59 degrees