Competition: Major League Soccer – New York Red Bulls vs. DC United
Venue: Red Bull Arena – Sunday, August 30 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST)
Match Odds: NY Red Bulls 8/15 – Draw 100/30 – DC United 9/2
This Sunday evening will see the battle at the top of the Eastern Conference heat up as second place New York Red Bulls host first place DC United in the latest Atlantic Cup rivalry game in what is one of the standout fixtures of Heineken Rivalry Week.
The home side come into this one off the back of their 3-2 loss away at Chicago Fire on Wednesday night. They are sitting five points behind their DC United ahead of this fixture but have three games in hand so this is a great chance for Jesse Marsch’s side to close the gap on their fierce rivals.
The Red Bulls will be confident heading into the game but know it will be a tough task to take all three points. This is the third meeting between the sides this season in MLS and DC are yet to win, with the most recent game ending 2-2 at RFK Stadium in April.
The previous meeting at Red Bull Arena ended with in a 2-0 win for the home side back in March. Marsch and fans alike will be hoping for a repeat of that scoreline so they can move closer to DC at the top of the Eastern and claim back the Atlantic Cup series after last year’s 3-1 aggregate loss.
DC United come into this one after losing their second consecutive game. Their 2-0 home loss to San Jose Earthquakes is not what Ben Olsen would have expected from his side and there is a danger of the wheels coming off at the worst possible time.
DC have struggled on the road this season, having won just four of their 13 away ties. Olsen will be aware of Red Bulls’ recent home form and knows his players have a tough task on their hands here to take all three points.
Olsen’s side still have a chance of winning the Supporter’s Shield but are up against it now after their previous two defeats.
This is the first of two consecutive away games for DC and they will want to ensure they can take a positive result here so that confidence levels around the squad do not drop any further.Embed from Getty Images
New York Red Bulls are expected to be without Chris Duvall. Kemar Lawrence is also a doubt for this one. Ronald Zubar returned on Wednesday and could line up again alongside Matt Miazga. Shaun Wright-Phillips will be hoping for a start after sitting on the bench once again on Wednesday.
DC United have four injury concerns. Eddie Johnson and Chris Korb are out, while Fabian Espindola and Bill Hamid are doubts. Perry Kitchen and Davy Arnaud are both one booking away from suspension.
New York Red Bulls’ last five in MLS: W/D/W/W/L
DC United’s last five in MLS: W/W/W/L/L
Key Stat: Solid – Red Bulls have won their last four regular season home games.
Key Player: Bradley Wright-Phillips – The Red Bulls forward has netted 11 goals so far this campaign and has three goals in his last five appearances.
New York Red Bulls 2-1 DC United – This will be a close game which neither side can afford to drop points in. Red Bulls to edge it and claim the Atlantic Cup series.