If you think the New York Red Bulls have long forgotten their lopsided loss to D.C. United in their early-season meeting at RFK Stadium, you could not be any more wrong.
The Red Bulls can still vividly picture that embarrassing 4-1 loss to their archrivals in April, one that saw Chris Pontius run rampant over New York’s defense with a hat-trick performance. And though the Red Bulls won the most recent meeting between the two sides at Red Bull Arena in June, they are hoping that a little payback is in order when they take on United at RFK Stadium for the final time in this regular season on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET, Galavision).
WATCH: DC romp over New York
“We need to play for a little bit of pride,” midfielder Dax McCarty said after Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Sporting Kansas City. “They beat us 4-1 down there earlier in the season. It’s a punch in the gut. We have to go down there and make sure we don’t give up an early goal. I think that’s been our Achilles’ heel all season.”
New York should have Thierry Henry (above) back in their lineup for the match after he missed Sunday’s draw due to the birth of his son and he will be counted on to help the Red Bulls create chances, something they have struggled to do consistently in road matches in recent months.
“He is a big part of our team, one of the best players on this team,” winger Sebastien Le Toux said. “He brings a lot of charisma and leadership.”
As if a match between these two sides needed anything else to spice it up, both are still in the hunt for the top spot in the Eastern Conference and New York are going to do everything in their power to pick up the three points.
Even if it takes looking back at the stinging defeat in April a few more times.
“It could be a motivating factor, because we had a very sloppy game,” head coach Hans Backe said on a conference call on Tuesday. “The rivalry between the teams should be a motivating factor; they outplayed us and we had a very, very poor game.”
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at Franco8813@gmail.com.