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VW Keys to the Match: Containment, pressure and emotional control

The Black-and-Red aim for three points at New York on Saturday

Nick DeLeon vs Thierry Henry

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In just 48 hours, the League’s greatest rivalry is set to kick off at Red Bull Arena as D.C. United takes on the New YorkRed Bulls on Saturday, March 16 at 12:30 p.m. (NBC) in the first leg of the Atlantic Cup. With the Red Bulls winless through two games in 2013 and anxious to impress in its home opener, here are your VW Keys to the Match:

The obvious – contain Henry, Cahill, and Espindola

With an exciting and powerful New York attack, D.C. United’s defenders must work the full 90 minutes and be mentally tuned in the whole time to contain Thierry Henry, Tim Cahill and Fabian Espindola. Shutting down the trio will go a long way in the Black-and-Red securing valuable road points at Red Bull Arena.

Pressure the back four

Through its first two games this year, any amount of pressure on the Red Bull back four will see the defenders collapse. The team has given up a League-worst (tied with the Chicago Fire and Portland Timbers) five goals over two games.

Close out the game

The magic number here is 10. In the final 10 minutes of games this year, New York has given up three goals (83’, 83’ and 90+) and dropped valuable road points because of those mental lapses.

Control the emotions

Saturday’s matchup will run high on emotions, as always when you pit two teams against each other with a deep passion and rivalry. Adding to the tension is the fact that the game is New York’s home opener as well as a revenge match after D.C. United knocked the Red Bulls out of last year’s Eastern Conference Semifinals.