After snatching points from the New England Revolution with a draw in Foxboro over the weekend, the New York Red Bulls are ready to move on to their next match quickly. They return home to take on their biggest rivals since the beginning of the league, D.C. United.
No matter where in the standings these two sides are in the East, there is no love lost for either side. The tackles are always a bit harder and there is great pride when these two original sides face each other.
But for the last seven matches, the Red Bulls have won the day defeating or drawing with DC United and having a winning record at D.C.’s new home in Audi Field. Yet the current numbers need to be thrown out when you face your oldest rival.
“Any time we play against DC it’s always going to be very intense. Since the restart has happened, we’ve been playing against all of our rivals.” said Ryan Meara, “In that aspect we’ve been up for all these games. We really need to win, that’s the most important no matter who we play against.
“But we know that they are a desperate team, and a desperate team is more dangerous than normal, we got to be up for the challenge just like against our other rivals, but we know they have been in a bit of bad form for the last several games.”
Head Coach Chris Armas has had his moments against DC United as a player, but for the Chicago Fire. As a member of the coaching staff, assistant or head coach, he was watching history when Bradley Wright-Phillips scored his 100th career MLS Goal or the thrilling three-goal draw against Wayne Rooney, Luciano Acosta & Paul Arriola.
“It goes way back and there is a lot of memories. Marco Etcheverry, Bruce Arena, Eddie Pope, Ben Olson, Jamie Moreno and so on.” Said Armas, “RFK Stadium, we’ve beat DC United at the Rose Bowl when I was playing for the Fire to win MLS Cup.
“But what I remember most about DC United it is the rich in culture, rich in winning, it’s a club that expects to win, they always put out a competitive team, but it’s great to be a part of this rivalry.”
Meara is one of the locals playing on the Red Bulls who have seen plenty of games as a regular fan as well as professional when these two sides face against each other. He has witnessed like all of us, every joyous win or heart-wrenching loss these two sides have faced against each other. So which games did you think he discussed?
“The one I remember as a fan was the Eddie Gaven game, when Bob Bradley took advantage of the goalkeeper sub and afterwards he scored the game winner” said Meara.
“We beat them down there in the playoffs in 2014 as it was Thierry’s (Henry) last season. Beating them down there was great. But the one that I hated was the loss as Kenny Cooper's 2nd attempt on the penalty was saved by Joe Willis after Bill Hamid got a red card, and then there was encroachment by Cahill & Henry.”
If you saw the most recent MSG preview show with both Steve Cangialosi and Shep Messing, the commentators discussed whether DC United still a big rival, due to the fact that they are not doing well in the standings.
While they haven’t been a strong contender in many years and the short-lived Acosta-Arriola-Rooney boom era ended very abruptly, no matter what anyone says, both supporters and players are geared up and ready to knock each other out, as Ben Olsen who is apparently coach for life and wants to end this seven-match winless streak.
No matter what the situation, a rivalry is a rivalry.