Chris Armas looks like he is really starting to figure out this New York Red Bulls team. A convincing 2-0 win against the New England Revolution put a lot of fans at ease after a nervous start to Armas’ managerial career.
The victory highlighted all the things that a Red Bulls team needs to hit in order to succeed. A good set piece goal and Bradley Wright-Phillips’ name on the scoresheet.
The set piece goal came off a dangerous delivery from inform man Marc Rzatkowski on a free kick deep in the Revolution half, while the BWP goal was yet another headed goal assisted by none other than Kaku.
BWP decided to pass on the heel click celebration this time, opting to simply point to the back of his jersey to show how many goals he has scored in his career at the club. Audi Field could see Wright-Phillips hit the century mark, and what an achievement it will be.
Kaku was a menace throughout the match against the Revolution, tallying his MLS leading 12th assist of the year. It was great to see both him and Rzatkowski on the pitch at the same time, as the two previously clashed styles when they played together.
This partnership alone should be enough to make Red Bulls fans excited about the rest of the year with Chris Armas in charge. The fact that the team is still able to produce goals and fix little kinks in the team means they are getting better off the pitch as well.
That is not good news for DC United, who host the Red Bulls for the first time this season in the newly dawned Audi Field. The facility is a huge improvement over their previous leaky, raccoon ridden home known as RFK Stadium.
DC United also has a new star added to their roster. Everton and Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney joined the team and made his debut for the club against the Vancouver Whitecaps a few weeks ago.
Rooney recorded his first MLS assist in that match as well to the delight of thousands at Audi Field. His next match against Atlanta United was a bit of a wake up call, though, as Rooney struggled in his 66 minute debut start.
Since DC United sold Patrick Mullens to the Columbus Crew recently, Rooney seems to be their new starting striker. This is a bold move by manager Ben Olsen, as he is expecting the 32 year old to lead the line for his attack.
The move has been widely seen as a desperate attempt for DC United to salvage anything they can from this dismal season. Being the bottom dwellers of the East, DC has earned a measly 14 points in their 16 matches played.
With just 27 goals scored on the year, it was clear the team needed to bring in a proven goal scorer if they wanted to at least partially climb the table. Rooney may not be exactly what they need at this moment, but he will have to do until the end of the season.
Yamil Asad and Darren Mattocks both have eight goals on the year for DC, but the club has only five other players who have scored a goal. With plenty of talent in the midfield and 17 assists spread between three players, it is baffling how much DC struggles to score.
Welcoming the strongest defense to their home stadium will not excited many DC United supporters either. The Red Bulls have conceded just 19 goals this season, recording seven clean sheets on the year as well.
The partnership of Aaron Long and Tim Parker cannot be praised enough. The American duo have been lights out all year, and with Murillo back in the lineup for the time being, the Red Bulls looks unbreakable at the back.
With the Red Bulls being so strong on the road and DC being so incredibly poor at home, it is hard to see this match ending well for Rooney and company. Armas looks to have broken through and really connected with this team already, meshing his philosophy with Marsch’s overall plan very well.
Nothing short of a convincing win will be seen as acceptable for the Red Bulls. The team needs to continue to roll if they want to catch free scoring Atlanta United by the end of the year, so matches like this cannot trip them up.