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Red Bulls take Leg 1 against D.C. United, 1-0

Man, that was a tough one.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The last time the New York Red Bulls won the Supporters' Shield, they came out hot against the Houston Dynamo and then eventually fell apart. Against D.C. United today, it looked like it would be a drawn out day for the Red Bulls. Halfime ended with the score stuck at nothing. Damien Perinelle would go out with a left knee injury when he landed awkwardly. Ronald Zubar came in for him and picked up a yellow card, along with Matt Miazga who picked one up early in the first half.

Then the Red Bulls got a free kick outside the box. Then the captain, Dax McCarty, was left unmarked on the back post, and headed a goal in past Bill Hamid. The Red Bulls would press for another away goal, but could not find it.

The win for the Red Bulls puts the team 90 minutes away from a second straight Eastern Conference Finals appearance, with 1 away goal in their pocket.

For D.C. United to overtake the Red Bulls, they must win and score at least 2 goals. A draw next week will be enough for the Red Bulls to advance without having to rely on Extra Time/Penalty Kicks.

3 Thoughts

Ronald Zubar/Damien Perrinelle

Zubar came in to the game cold and did a good job filling in for Perrinelle, who might be out for at least the next match by the looks of how he was carried off the field. The one moment of concern with Zubar came when he was booked in the 69th minute for what looked like a harsh foul in real time. He was only given a yellow, meaning he will be available for next week.

The concern now is the return of Perrinelle. If he can't go, the Red Bulls' two center backs (Zubar & Miazga) cannot afford a yellow card, or else they'll miss the next possible playoff game.

Dax McCarty

The Captain! The Ginger Ninja! 1 goal to the good! Who else should score the opening playoff goal this year?

Away Goals

While two or more would've been better, having an away goal is huge for the Red Bulls, as a 1-0 loss at home would still force extra time. It makes DC have to push for at least 2 goals, which should make them more open to the counter attack.