Lloyd Sam’s 90th minute goal pushed New York Red Bull to a critical 1-0 win over rivals D.C. United tonight at Red Bull Arena it Harrison, New Jersey.
United put forth a valiant effort after they were reduced to 10 men in the 32nd minute after a highly-debatable red card was issued to Fabian Espindola for his high foot into the chest of Red Bull midfielder Dax McCarty. Replays showed while Espindola’s foot was certainly high, it seemed unfathomable that it was deemed reckless and a serious foul from referee Mark Geiger.
With the difficult task of playing a man down for an hour, United nearly pulled off a more than deserved point. However, with a desperate Red Bull needing three points to stay in contention for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, the home side was pushing players forward and were becoming exceedingly frustrated with United’s disciplined defending and once again the fantastic presence of Bill Hamid in goal.
Hamid pulled off three stunning saves to keep Red Bull at bay late in the match before Sam got the game-winner in the 90th minute. With nearly their entire team pushed into the attacking third, a ball from defender Jamison Olave found it’s way to Sam on the right side of the penalty area. With defender Taylor Kemp trying to close him down, Sam slipped the ball underneath Hamid to give Red Bull the three points.Despite the heartbreaking loss (the third time United has lost in the 90th minute or later this season), United still remains in first place by five points over second-place Sporting Kansas City with both teams having six matches left in the season. Tonight was not a complete loss for United as they did see the long-awaited debut of Chris Pontius in the 80th minute. Chris Rolfe and Eddie Johnson both missed their second consecutive game which obviously hurt United’s chances once they went short-handed early in the game. United now has a well-deserved 10 day break from league play but will have to travel to Jamaica next Wednesday for their CONCACAF Champions League match against Waterhouse FC before resuming league play in Chicago on Saturday, September 20th.