WASHINGTON – Finally, the New York Red Bulls were able to see off a game.
The Red Bulls defeated rivals D.C. United on Saturday evening at RFK Stadium, shutting down the hosts after jumping out to a 2-0 first-half lead. It was the type of performance that had eluded New York this far into the season, and one that came on the heels of the Red Bulls suffering a 3-1 loss to the Chicago Fire after going into halftime level.
“Tactically, we were a lot smarter,” Dax McCarty said after the match that improved the Red Bulls to 2-3-2. “We knew we were coming on the road, we respect D.C. on the road, especially at RFK, we know they’re dangerous. But it was just a good change of mentality.
“Our main focus this week was, when we lost the ball, to get all 10 guys behind the ball and make sure we have a shape and not get counterattacked, because ultimately that’s what cost us the game in Chicago. It was just a real professional performance from us.”
New York jumped out in front through a Thierry Henry strike in the 29th minute and Jámison Olave doubled the lead seven minutes later. In past weeks, the club would have succumbed to the inevitable pressure that would come from its opponents, but that was not the case this time.
“When we were on top of them we scored and when they were on top of us in the second half, [we] managed to not concede a goal,” said Henry. “That’s the way we’ve got to go.”
The Red Bulls won’t have much time to enjoy this defensive outing and victory. They host Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday and the New England Revolution next Saturday, April 20, and they'll try and use this triumph over United as a building block moving forward.
“From my standpoint, I never felt like they were a threat to score on us tonight,” said McCarty. “D.C. has been very dangerous in the past but for whatever reason they are going through a little bit of identity problem, so for us we wanted to feed off that and we wanted to make sure we kept a good shape and make them break us down.
“We’re up two goals on the road, no reason for us to go chase the game and go crazy and we still created chances in the second half. … It’s a good performance from us. We’re happy about it, we’re going to go home, take it and get ready for Kansas.”