Lloyd Sam and Tim Cahill scored first half goals, while goalkeeper Luis Robles saved a penalty kick, as the New York Red Bulls moved into a first place tie in the Eastern Conference with a 2-1 win over D.C. United Saturday evening at Red Bull Arena.
Despite late pressure from United, the Red Bulls, which played with 10 men following an Ibrahim Sekagya 72nd minute red card, earned the full three points and moved to 42 points off a 12-9-6 record. New York is now in a three-way tie for first place in the Eastern Conference with the Montreal Impact and Sporting Kansas City.
The Red Bulls took the lead in the eight minute. Cahill, whose 10-year-old son Kyah performed the National Anthem before the match, controlled a Bradley Wright-Phillips feed and slipped it across to the right side of the penalty box to Sam. The Englishman dribbled it in and chipped it over a diving Bill Hamid, off the left post and over the endline.
United almost responded immediately two minutes later, as Jared Jeffrey ripped one from long range just over the crossbar. In the 26th minute, Luis Silva drove into space on the right and cut it back to Lewis Neal, who pulled it past the right post.
The visitors’ persistence would pay off and they would tie the game nine minutes from halftime. Dwayne De Rosario floated a diagonal ball to Nick DeLeon. DeLeon was able to control the pass and cut it to his left foot, putting it past Robles.
However, the Red Bulls would answer almost immediately to again take the lead. Jonny Steele created space on the left wing and his cross was met by Cahill, as the Australian outleaped Daniel Woolard and nodded it into the back of the net for his team-leading eighth goal of the year.
United exerted pressure in the second half and nearly tied the game again in the 52nd minute, when Silva headed it off the crossbar. Robles made a good save seven minutes later, going to his right to parry Neal’s drive. On the other end, Thierry Henry was able to run at the United defense and rifled it inches from the goalmouth.
The Red Bulls were forced to play a man down after referee Juan Guzman ruled that Sekagya fouled De Rosario in the box and the New York defender was given a red card in the 72nd minute for the challenge. However, Robles came up trumps for the hosts, guessing correctly to block De Rosario’s penalty kick. Robles’ save proved to be the difference as the 10-man Red Bulls defense held firm and helped give New York the victory.
New York Red Bulls 2, D.C. United 1
August 31, 2013 – Red Bull Arena – Harrison, NJ
MLS Regular Season
NY: Lloyd Sam 3 (Tim Cahill 4) 8’
DCU: Nick DeLeon 1 (Dwayne De Rosario 2) 36’
NY: Tim Cahill 8 (Jonny Steele 5) 38’