Dwayne De Rosario’s 61st minute goal against the run of play was all D.C. United needed tonight in their 1-0 win against their bitter rivals New Red Bull at Red Bull Arena. United, which had blown leads late in their previous two league matches to salvage draws, desperately hung on to all three points tonight with a compact defense and the occasional counter attack to keep host Red Bull honest. The much talked about and anticipated match up just a week after the trade that send De Rosario from Red Bull to United for Dax McCarty clearly came down in the Black-and-Red’s favor for this night as McCarty did not have a good match.
After a relatively even first 45 minutes with United getting the only serious chance at goal when Charlie Davies shot was saved off the line by Tim Ream in the 45th minute, the match tilted in New York’s favor right out of the gate in the second half. Thierry Henry had New York’s best opportunity of the evening in the 50th minute when he latched on to a poor back pass misplayed by defenders Brandon McDonald and Ethan White. The league’s leading scoring took one touch and sent a low liner to the opposite post but the quick reflexes of United goalkeeper Bill Hamid smothered the shot and he quickly pounced on the rebound to diffuse any potential follow-ups.
Ten minutes later however United got the game-winner against the run of play but it was almost lost as soon as it started. Andy Najar collected the ball on the right wing and his first touch seemed destined to be a turnover but quick thinking on his part got him to toe-poke the ball in the direction of De Rosario. De Rosario dummied the ball through his legs and Dax McCarty fell for it. De Rosario immediately pivoted towards goal and Josh Wolff’s pass hit the Canadian in stride and his left-footed blast hit the far post and carried across the goal mouth and settled into the opposite side netting to give United the 1-0 lead.
United continued to defend for the remainder of the match and while Red Bull didn’t have any clear cut chances, it wasn’t for a lack of trying by the home side. United’s defense has been under heavy scrutiny all season long and was magnified by the back-to-back matches at home to Philadelphia and Houston in which they gave up goals late to draw matches that should have been won. As has been seen on occasion this season, while the defense is capable of giving up 4-goal stinkers, they have also managed to pitch four shutouts, including tonight’s whitewash of their bitter rivals.
United will now turn their attention towards a tough road match against FC Dallas next Saturday evening at 9pm. This match will be televised by ComcastSportsNet.
– United ended two streaks for Red Bull tonight. Red Bull suffered their first home shutout of the season and also snapped an MLS-record string of 15 straight matches with scoring a goal in the first half.
– Even though the season series ended up with a win for each side, Red Bull won the Atlantic Cup for the second season in a row thanks to their 4-1 aggregate score over their two matches. New York hammered United 4-0 at RFK on April 21st