The New York Red Bulls end their season at a stadium that will never host another MLS match again. DC United’s RFK Stadium will no longer be called home as the team finally moves from their problem filled homestead. With a list of problems a mile long, both fans and players alike will rejoice in never having to step foot in RFK Stadium again.
Much like the stadium, DC United will be happy they are closing the door to their season, as it was one to forget. The club is in last place in the east and has lost 19 matches this season. They have the second worst home record in MLS and have the worst goal differential in the league as well, with a miserable -28 to boast.
DC has not scored since their last meeting with the Red Bulls at the end of September. That match ended up being a 3-3 draw due to a 90th minute own goal from Fidel Escobar and is a result that should never have happened. Patrick Mullins, who is tied with Luciano Acosta for top goal scorer at DC with five goals, was on the scoresheet that match as well.
Mullins really found his form late in the season after scoring four goals against the San Jose Earthquakes. At just 25 years old, Mullins could become a regular starter for DC and end up being their main striker in the coming seasons. The Red Bulls will again need to mark him tightly in this match as he is a constant threat every minute he is on the pitch.
For New York, this game could not mean any less. They have already clinched a playoff spot and cannot move any further up the table. Beating a rival is always nice, but much of the focus will be on other results around the league.
Should the season finish with the teams in the east exactly the way they are now, the Red Bulls would play the Chicago Fire in the first round of the playoffs. New York could also play the Columbus Crew, Atlanta United or even NYCFC if certain matches finish differently.
A strong showing against DC would be a great way to head into the playoffs, however. The Red Bulls last match saw the team come away with just a point in a tough 0-0 home draw against Atlanta United. Luis Robles made a few very crucial saves in the match and looked strong while the defense played surprisingly well against the potent and pacey Atlanta attack.
With the first round playoff match set for October 25th, the Red Bulls will have just two days rest following their trip to DC. Since their position in the table cannot be altered, Jesse Marsch may consider playing conservative and resting a few players. An early change or two may be on the cards and, as crazy as it seems, Marsch may actually use all three substitutions this match as well.
It is a bit of a relief that the Red Bulls can relax heading into the last match of the season. There were a few weeks during the midpoint of the year where fans were very much worried about the team's chances of even making the playoffs. They could not seem to get a win and were constantly making defensive errors leading to goals.
They have since turned it around and put themselves in a great spot to make a run to MLS Cup glory. After a disappointing Open Cup finals, the Red Bulls will be heading into the playoffs hungry for cup glory. It may be a tough road ahead, but the team and fans alike will be bursting to prove to the league just how hard they have worked this season.