The Atlantic Cup rivals renew acquaintances once again as D.C. United play host to the New York Red Bulls on ESPN2. United are coming off an impressive 3-0 win at Toronto FC, behind another goal from league leader Charlie Davies. The Red Bulls snapped out of their attacking funk with a dominant 3-0 home win against the San Jose Earthquakes, as Thierry Henry scored his first goal of the 2011 campaign.
REFEREE: Jorge Gonzalez. SAR (bench): Greg Barkey; JAR (opposite): Matthew Kreitzer; 4th: Andrew Chapin MLS Career: 54 games; FC/gm: 24.6; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 17; pens: 15
INJURY REPORT: D.C. UNITED – OUT: MF Junior Carreiro (R ankle sprain); GK Steve Cronin (L wrist fracture); DF Devon McTavish (concussion); DF Jed Zayner (L hamstring strain) … NEW YORK RED BULLS – OUT: MF Austin Da Luz (R ankle sprain); FW Corey Hertzog (R quadriceps strain); DF Carlos Mendes (groin strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (54 meetings): United 29 wins (1 shootout), 107 goals … Red Bulls 18 wins (1 shootout), 77 goals … Ties 7
AT RFK (28 meetings): United 17 wins (1 shootout), 61 goals … Red Bulls 8 wins (1 shootout), 42 goals … Ties 3
RETURN MATCH: 7/9: New York Red Bulls vs. D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.
LAST YEAR (MLS):
5/1: DC 0, NY 2 (Ibrahim 51; Angel 60)
7/10: NY 0, DC 0
- The Red Bulls’ 2-0 win at RFK Stadium last May was their first in the nation’s capital since 2005. United had won five of the seven intervening meetings at RFK Stadium.
- The Red Bulls won the Atlantic Cup last year for just the second time in the nine years it had been contested, the first since 2003.
- Goal difference is the first tie-breaker, followed by away goals; if still tied, United (as holders) will retain the cup.
- Coaches record: Hans Backe vs. DC: P2 W1 L0 D1 … Ben Olsen v NY: first game
D.C. United won for the first time since the opening game of the season, scoring early and often for a 3-0 victory against Toronto FC on Saturday evening at BMO Field. United have 7 points from 5 games on the year, sitting in fifth place in the Eastern Conference.
- United were two goals to the good before the game was 10 minutes old. In the fifth minute, Chris Pontius took advantage of a giveaway and raced in on goal, slotting the ball under a hard-charging Stefan Frei.
- Then in the 10th minute, after Charlie Davies intercepted a pass, he fed to Josh Wolff. Frei made the initial stop with Wolff in alone, but Davies swept home the rebound.
- TFC went a man down four minutes into the second half when Dan Gargan was sent off after taking down Pontius as he looked to be clean through on goal.
- But Pontius got his brace after stepping inside Julian de Guzman and firing a curling shot into the right corner past a diving Frei in the 73rd minute.
- United coach Ben Olsen made two changes to the team that came back for a 1-1 draw with the LA Galaxy at RFK Stadium. Fred came in for the suspended Santino Quaranta, and Charlie Davies made his first MLS start, in place of Blake Brettschneider.
- D.C. UNITED (4-1-3-2): Bill Hamid – Chris Korb, Dejan Jakovic (Perry Kitchen 64), Ethan White, Marc Burch - Clyde Simms - Fred (Joseph Ngwenya 85), Dax McCarty (Branko Boskovic 74), Chris Pontius - Charlie Davies, Josh Wolff.
- A year ago, D.C. United scored just 21 goals in 30 games, 10 fewer than the next club overall and by far the least in MLS. But after five games this year, United already have nine goals – and are tied for the most in the league, following their 3-0 win against Toronto FC.
- “I think we’re starting to find our identity which is to keep the ball and when we’re on we want to go forward and attack and score goals and we have the guys, the players, to go ahead and do that,” said Davies.
- Chris Pontius scored two goals for United to go along with Charlie Davies’ league-leading fifth, in his first MLS start. The last time Pontius scored was June 10, 2010 – which was also a 2-goal effort, against Seattle Sounders FC.
- “It shows some maturation, coming on the road and starting so well,” forward Josh Wolff said to The Washington Post. “We wanted to put our stamp on it. We put ourselves as the aggressor from minute one and got rewarded with three goals — and it could’ve been four or five.”
- For Davies, it was his first start in MLS, after making three substitute appearances and missing one game to injury. He came off in added time after suffering a cramp.
- “I just thought, ‘All right, now’s my chance to show what I can do.’ It feels great when all the guys come up to you and say, ‘You made a difference, you were a key guy,’” Davies said to The Post.
- The win was the first on the road for United after two losses. Last season, United had just three victories (and three draws) in 15 away games. D.C. already has five goals away from home; last season, they scored just nine away from RFK Stadium.
- “Overall, at this point, three points on the road and this is not an easy league, and to get three points on the road is a very positive thing,” Olsen said. “The guys worked their tails off and I thought the mentality throughout the match was pretty sharp.”
- After making two substitute appearances, following a starting role in the opening two matches of the season, Andy Najar was a scratch from the 18-man game day roster with illness.
- Homegrown product Ethan White was preferred to rookie Perry Kitchen as a starting center back for a second consecutive week. White made a goal-line clearance for a second consecutive match as well. Kitchen came on for Dejan Jakovic midway through the second half.
NEW YORK RED BULLS
The New York Red Bulls snapped their three-game winless run in emphatic fashion, with a 3-0 victory against the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday evening at Red Bull Arena. The Red Bulls have 8 points from 5 games, sitting in a three-way tie for second place in the Eastern Conference.
- The Red Bulls took the lead after just two minutes. A corner from the left was flicked on at the near post, falling to Dane Richards. He chipped the ball back into the center where Luke Rodgers was able to steer home a header.
- Rodgers and the Red Bulls doubled their lead in the 15th minute. Thierry Henry stripped the ball from an Earthquakes defender on the right flank and slotted a teasing ball across the face of the goal where Rodgers raced in to hammer home his second goal of the night.
- [inline_node:334084]Henry got his long-awaited goal with three minutes to play. Rodgers returned Henry’s earlier favor, chipping in a cross to the far post. Henry snuck behind a San Jose defender and powered a header into the far side netting.
- Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe made one change to the team that fell 1-0 to Philadelphia Union at PPL Park. Luke Rodgers came into the team in place of Juan Agudelo.
- NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-1-3-2): Bouna Coundoul - Jan Gunnar Solli, Rafael Marquez, Tim Ream, Roy Miller - Teemu Tainio - Dane Richards (John Rooney 93+), Dwayne De Rosario, Joel Lindpere (Mehdi Ballouchy 84) - Thierry Henry, Luke Rodgers (Juan Agudelo 90).
- Luke Rodgers made his start alongside Thierry Henry – and the pair combined for three goals. Rodgers had one previous start with the Red Bulls, the scoreless in Columbus on March 26, a game Henry missed to injury.
- “We’ve got two world-class strikers here in (Juan) Agudelo and Henry so I wasn’t too sure when I would get my chance,” Rodgers said. “But I’m so pleased to just be playing and, obviously, for the moment, the goals.”
- Rodgers was preferred to Juan Agudelo, who had started three of the first five games, also missing the March 26 game, to international duty. “Juan has been playing and training since early January,” Backe said. “We just needed to calm him down a bit.”
- Coming into the game, the Red Bulls had managed a league-low two goals in four matches. They’ve raised their average to a goal per game.
- “Of course not scoring weighed on us; we read in the papers that we have world-class strikers and you can’t score,” Rodgers said. “We knew it was just a matter of time before it clicked, and I think this will kick-start our season.”
- For Henry, it was his first league goal since Sept. 11 of last season, going 684 minutes without scoring.
- “It was more annoying than important today. My goal didn’t have an effect on the game, but I tried everything today to score and finally did,” Henry said. “The most important thing is to say that we worked really hard up front, Luke and I. It really doesn’t matter who scores.”
- Henry returned to full training in the days leading up to the United match and is expecting to be fully available, even with a quicker turnaround for the game.
- “With Thierry, you could see, when he feels fresh and no problem with the Achilles, he was different class today, his touch on the ball,” Backe said. “Every striker needs sometimes to score, but he set up today a lot of final passes, and he was very composed on the ball. He was strong on one-versus-ones as a target, so this was his best performance so far for Red Bull. If he can stay on this level, we definitely have a player who can make a difference in this league.”
- John Rooney, the younger brother of Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney, made his MLS debut, coming on as a late substitute for Dane Richards.
- Joel Lindpere came off late in the match for a substitute, after undergoing a procedure on his knee earlier in the week. Backe said he expects him to be available for the United match. “I think we can manage [him in] the game on Thursday,” Backe said.