Nick DeLeon vs New York's Kosuke Kimura - 2014
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Talking Strategy: D.C. United vs New York Red Bulls

Aiming to continue its run atop the Eastern Conference, D.C. United returns home to shift its focus to storied rival New York Red Bulls. Despite besting Sporting Kansas City 3-0 last weekend at Sporting Park, D.C. United is hungry after dropping a midweek match at StubHub Center to a hot Los Angeles Galaxy side, 4-1.

“It’s a big game, you know? Not just the rivalry, but anytime you come off of a big loss like we just had, it’s very important to go out and play well,” said D.C. United captain Bobby Boswell.

While United has continued to bounce back after losses this season, something midfielder Nick DeLeon credits to a short memory, the significance is higher as MLS inches towards playoffs.

“This will dictate how we go into the last stretch of the season, leading into playoffs, and the same for [New York],” Chris Rolfe said.

Beginning this important run in front of familiar supporters helps. D.C. United has placed a large importance on taking care of points at home in 2014. For Boswell, one of the few Black-and-Red members who has multiple seasons invested in this rivalry, there’s an added bonus to playing New York at RFK Stadium.

“We’ll be at home in front of our fans, I’m sure there will be some traveling New York fans, and we want to make sure to send them home unhappy,” Boswell said. “We want to move further up in the standings and separate ourselves even further from them.”

There is also the promise of heading north for the teams’ third and final meeting of the regular season at Red Bull Arena on Sept. 10.

“The fact that we’re playing them twice in the next two weeks, it means more than a typical game,” Rolfe said. “Having a six-point swing against them at where we are in the season, and where we are in the standings, it’s going to add a little extra bite to both games."

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