Competition: Major League Soccer – DC United vs. New York Red Bulls
Venue: RFK Stadium – Friday, May 13 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST)
Match Odds: DC United 15/8 – Draw 23/10 – NY Red Bulls 29/20
DC have won just two of their ten games so far and are sitting seventh in the East, level on points with the Red Bulls who sit one place above them heading into the contest.
Both of United’s wins have come at home and so they will be fairly confident ahead of Friday’s game, though last week’s 2-0 home loss to NYCFC will have dented confidence.
DC know they need to improve quickly if they are to remain in contention for the playoffs come the end of the campaign. They play seven of their next ten games away from RFK Stadium so a crucial period of their season is approaching.
The Red Bulls looked doomed until three weeks ago. They had lost six of their first seven before then picking up seven points from their last three games.
Last week’s 1-1 draw in Orlando moved them into the top six for the first time this season and they will now have their eyes set on sides above them, with Jesse Marsch’s team just five points off the top of the East.
Injuries have hampered their chances so far but key players are returning with each week and so things are starting to look up for the Red Bulls, who play three of their next four at home following Friday’s trip to DC.
These rivals met five times last year, three times in the regular season and twice in the Eastern Conference semifinals of the playoffs. The Red Bulls won four of the five meetings in total, with the only other game ending in a 2-2 draw at RFK Stadium back in April.
DC United will welcome back Chris Rolfe following his suspension, while Fabian Espindola could return from the hamstring problem that has kept him out for three weeks. Bill Hamid remains out, along with Andrew Dykstra, Charlie Horton, Chris Korb and Collin Martin.
New York still have doubts hanging over Gideon Baah and Connor Lade, though Gonzalo Veron made his return to action last week and will be in contention to start here. Aurelien Collin made his debut in defence alongside Ronald Zubar and the pair may play again here, with Baah unlikely to make the starting lineup. Damien Perrinelle and Ryan Meara remain sidelined.
DC United’s last five: W/L/W/D/L
NY Red Bulls’ last five: L/L/W/W/D
Key Stat: The Red Bulls are unbeaten in five matches against DC United (W4 D1), all of which took place last year in the regular season and playoffs combined.
Key Player: Bradley Wright-Phillips – The Red Bulls striker endured a tough start to the season but has now scored three in three and will hope to continue to add to his tally in this important rivalry clash. He bagged four goals in five games against DC last term and will be confident of finding the net again here.
DC United 1-2 New York Red Bulls – Both sides will be fired up for this game but the Red Bulls look in much better shape coming into the contest. DC are struggling for any sort of form and have not beaten their rivals in their last five attempts. It should be an entertaining game but the Red Bulls look more likely to walk away with three points.