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VW Keys to the Match: D.C. United vs New York Red Bulls

Keys to getting the upper hand in the Atlantic Cup

Chris Pontius header vs New York

Photo Credit: 
Tony Quinn

For the second time in under a month, Major League Soccer’s best rivalry – D.C. United and the New York Red Bulls – is set to kick off again on Saturday evening, this time at RFK Stadium in the nation’s capital. While there were little fireworks last matchup – a 0-0 tie at Red Bull Arena back on March 16 – both teams are looking to creep up in the standings after a slow start to the 2013 campaign. With the Black-and-Red in search of its 300th win, what better way to achieve the milestone than against the New York Red Bulls? Here are your VW Keys to the Match:

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Find the net

Though Black-and-Red has struggled to find the back of the net through the early parts of 2013, United had a similar problem last year that was jump-started when Pontius scored three against the Red Bulls in a late April game at RFK. United went on to win the match 4-1, which bodes well for the squad in this year’s duel in DC.

Pressure for the full 90 minutes

New York, as of late, has been in the habit of conceding goals late in the half and game, so the Black-and-Red must keep up the pressure for the full 90 minutes. In the Red Bulls’ last matchup against Chicago, the side took an early 1-0 lead after a Jamison Olave goal. Despite being up away from home, N.Y. conceded three unanswered goals in the 44th, 83rd and 89th minutes to drop the decision 3-1.

Duplicate the defensive effort

In the two clubs’ first matchup of the season, a 0-0 tie less than a month ago at Red Bull Arena, D.C. United and keeper Bill Hamid put together a great defensive effort despite high-pressure from the Red Bulls on its home opener. The Homegrown netminder stifled New York, making seven saves, including a goal-line clearance at the death, en route to MLS Player of the Week honors. If the Black-and-Red, along with keeper Bill Hamid, can duplicate that effort on Saturday, United will be in a prime spot to get its 300th win.