HARRISON, N.J. – The New York Red Bulls dominated possession, struck the woodwork twice and might have scored had goal-line technology been in use against archrivals D.C. United, but they were unable to beat goalkeeper Bill Hamid, as the two age-old rivals played to a 0-0 draw on a snowy Saturday afternoon at Red Bull Arena.
Hamid will rightly earn the accolades, but the main talking point will be Brandon Barklage's deflected header on a stoppage-time corner kick that seemed at first glance to cross the goal line. Hamid was there to pull off an incredible one-handed swat to clear the danger, but the moment will have the soccer world's impatience with goal-line technology only heightened after replays were inconclusive as to whether the ball did in fact clear the line or not.
It was just the final near-miss of the match for the Red Bulls, who outshot United 24-5 and yet remain winless through their first three games of the season.
Hamid was a big reason for that, making a number of superb stops on the day. The first came when Thierry Henry was played in by Eric Alexander in the seventh minute, and the French forward forced a diving save from Hamid.
In the 24th minute, Henry delivered a cross in from the right flank that Fabián Espíndola got on the end of, but the Argentine forward’s header smashed off the crossbar.
The game continued to be one-way traffic in New York’s favor in the second half. Espíndola came close in the 55th minute with a left-footed shot from 16 yards that again was denied by the woodwork. And two minutes later, Henry was alone on the far side after D.C. defender Brandon McDonald, who was more than steady most of the day, missplayed a long ball. But Henry's one-time shot went high.
In the 58th minute, United had their best chance of the afternoon, when Dwayne De Rosario, back from a two-game suspension, fed Chris Pontius in the area. The forward turned his man and slammed a shot that onrushing Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles kicked clear.
Hamid then came up with his best save of the day in the 67th minute. New York's Tim Cahill slid in to connect with Jonny Steele's cross from the left side. The Australian appeared to have an open goal until Hamid sprawled across to block the shot.
It all set up the final moment of drama in stoppage time. Barklage latched onto Juninho's corner kick and his header ricocheted off defender James Riley. As the ball bounced toward the line, Hamid stretched back to push it away as the Red Bulls players shouted for a goal. Their shouts landed on deaf ears as referee Mark Geiger waved play on and a minute later blew the final whistle.
Both teams will return to action next weekend. United host the Columbus Crew on March 23, while the Red Bulls visit the Montreal Impact.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Bill Hamid (DC)||Controversial last save aside, Big Bill had six others on the day that helped United escape with a huge point|
|2||Dejan Jakovic (DC)||Really, all of D.C.'s backline got the job done on misfiring RBNY, but the Canadian shone the brightest|
|3||Jonny Steele (NY)||Not a good sign when a utility midfielder is your most dangerous weapon, but the ex-RSL man clocked one off the post and set up two other good chances.|