The New York Red Bulls reopened their season after the international break as they came down to our nation’s capital to take on Wayne Rooney and D.C. United, they were going to continue to keep pace with Atlanta United in the supporters shield race.
But instead what they got was a back and forth contest that really pushed the boundreies that was justified as another classic match between the two sides, that once again began back in 1996 as the oldest rivalry in Major League Soccer that ended in a three all draw.
Paul Arriola took advantage of a nice ball he received from Luciano Acosta and took it one time to deflect off the right leg of Kemar Lawrence and beat Luis Robles to the far post in the 25th minute, but later on in the half Bradley Wright-Phillips exploded after he got a gift.
In the 41st minute it would be Kaku along the near side to cross the ball into the middle of the DC area and Tim Parker tried to head it in, but Bill Hamid made a crazy move and tried to swipe the ball away.
Yet for Wright-Phillips he was able to camp underneath the ball and when he felt a little pressure, he was able to bicycle kick the ball towards the back post and it somehow beat Bill Hamid and two defenders for the first equalizer.
In the second half D.C. United was trying to get the lead back and when Wayne Rooney finally converted in his first Atlantic Cup derby you heard the Audi Field crowd go crazy, when he converted on a great pass from Oneil Fisher in the 64th minute.
Then BWP would convert for the second time and a second equalizer as Michael Murillo crossed a good ball from the near side and when BWP settled it, he ripped it that deflected off the inside the leg of Oneil Fisher and beats Hamid again in the 76th minute.
It looked like the Red Bulls had a handle on things. It felt like they were going to try and prevent a third goal from happening against them, until Luciano Acosta was allowed a little space as he curled around Michael Murillo and was able to tightrope walk along the end line. He curled a shot past Robles for the third goal in the 87th minute.
But once again Bradley Wright-Phillips would not be denied as he was able to get not just the third equalizer in the match but his first hat trick in a very long time. He converted in the final minute of regulation and Audi Field went silent.
A looping ball from the midfield fell towards Alex Muyl down the far side. Then he makes a turn beating the defender and when Muyl gave a nice cross towards BWP, all he had to do was take a half volley and went top shelf to beat Hamid for the third and final time.
While it’s a good road point for the Red Bulls, you need to take a look at the whole performance and the defensive effort wasn’t good. “I feel a little bit disappointed. I don’t feel we really looked like ourselves defensively. It is obviously good to score but we were always coming back, it was always we had to score to get back into the game.” said Bradley Wright-Phillips.
“We are fighting too hard to get these wins the last two games and I don’t really like the feeling of that. We came away with a point but it doesn’t really feel good right now to me.”
And the feelings from Head Coach Chris Armas about this match?
“I think it says a lot about our group. We’ve caught them a few times where they’re hot and they’re in their building to get a win and a tie. You would take those four points beforehand and we feel disappointed.” Said Armas.
“When you score three on the road, you want a little more but it says a lot about the character to go down on the road, to come back in the way that we did. We talked about it in the hours before the game. We drew up some scenarios if it was and we went over some of the tactical things that would address it.”
So the Red Bulls will head back up to Red Bull Arena as they will get ready for two big home matches as they host Toronto FC this coming Saturday and then the following Sunday a big match up with Atlanta United.