Four days after a frustrating result in the opening match of Heineken Rivalry Week, the New York Red Bulls bounced back with a hard-fought 1-0 win over their oldest rivals, D.C. United, on HRW's final day.
Alejandro Romero Gamarra, better known as Kaku, netted the winner with a subtly smooth display of individual skill early in the second half, latching on to a half-clearance at the top of the United penalty box and buying space for himself with a couple of quick touches to his left before lashing a low, dipping strike inside the right post.
The play broke a lengthy goalless duck for the Argentinean playmaker dating back to May 5, and delivered the 2018 Atlantic Cup to RBNY with a victory that should go a long way towards washing out the sour taste of Wednesday's 1-1 draw with their crosstown foes New York City FC at Yankee Stadium.
D.C. made the Red Bulls earn every inch, controlling most of the first half and carving out a number of clear scoring chances, including a Wayne Rooney effort that clanged off the woodwork and a glaring miss by Oniel Fisher on a close-range header.
But with RBNY now winners of the first two matches between these two MLS originals, the Atlantic Cup will stay in their possession regardless of the result in their final regular-season meeting, set for Sept. 16.
- 56' – RBNY – Kaku Gamarra | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: Despite failing to win a New York Derby clash they really should've at midweek, the Red Bulls keep chugging along, staying within Atlanta's shadow in the Supporters' Shield race. Meanwhile, a loss in this matchup always stings D.C., but they look content to regroup for two home games later this week.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Kaku's winner was lovely, but we'll submit another sequence for your consideration: when United coach Ben Olsen substituted Rooney out in the 79th minute, followed closely by Luciano Acosta's departure a minute later, signaling that D.C. were willing to rest their top two attackers with an eye towards the matches to come.
Final thoughts for me from #RBNYvDC: For stretches in the 2nd half, #DCU looked more gassed than at any point during their 3-match, 8-day homestand. Part of that is probably just aggregate wear and tear. And part of it is the effort #RBNY require out of opponents. #MLS— Ian Quillen (@IaqDiesel) August 27, 2018
- MAN OF THE MATCH: RBNY's silky playmaker Kaku gets the nod for his sublime strike.