After last night’s knockout round game, D.C. United now knows its opponent for the Eastern Conference Semifinals—the New York Red Bulls. New York, coming off just two days rest, will host the first leg of the semifinals on Sunday, Nov. 2 at 4 p.m. (CSN).
“We’re focused on New York obviously,” said D.C. United Head Coach Ben Olsen. “It is good to know our opponent; it has been a little bit of a waiting game. We’re extremely familiar with them, and vice versa. That’s how it goes this late in the season.”
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United has owned the match-up thus far in 2014, winning the first two games 1-0 and 2-0 at RFK Stadium, and dropping the last match 1-0 at Red Bull Arena.
“The edge we have is from an energy standpoint,” Olsen said. “We’re healthy, we’re rested and I think we have to use that to our advantage. It’s still going to be a very tough series, and we’re going to need to play at our best to get through it.”
“We’re looking forward to it,” said D.C. United midfielder Davy Arnaud. “This is what we have been looking forward to and working for all year.”
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With the win last night over last year’s MLS Cup Champions Sporting Kansas City, New York should be confident going into the semis. This does not change United’s approach.
“Even though we are in the playoffs now, and the intensity or whatever else changes a little bit, we’re going to have to make sure we continue to do all the things we’ve been doing all year and not get away from that,” Arnaud said.
While the Black-and-Red focuses on sticking to its game plan, it’s hard to ignore the threat the Red Bulls pose with players like Golden Boot Winner Bradley Wright Phillips, Thierry Henry, Tim Cahill, and Lloyd Sam.
“There’s a lot of talent,” Olsen said. “It’s as talented of a team in this league. We’re going to have to be good in all areas of the field to get a result against New York.”
D.C. United takes on New York this Sunday (4:00 p.m. - Comcast SportsNet), then returns to RFK Stadium on Saturday, November 8 at 2:30 pm. Join us on the road this Sunday by clicking here and buy your Playoffs tickets for next weekend here.