A heroic performance from Bill Hamid had a 10-man D.C. United team on the brink of securing a hard-fought road point, but Lloyd Sam came through late to lift the New York Red Bulls past their archrivals.
Just as the Red Bulls looked ready to settle for a frustrating draw at Red Bull Arena, Sam donned the hero’s cape and scored a stoppage-time winner to give New York a 1-0 win on Wednesday night. The goal came only after Hamid had thwarted a bevy of quality chances from New York, who were up a man after Fabian Espindola was controversially sent off with a straight red card in the 32nd minute.
The victory moved the Red Bulls to 9-8-10 and pushed them into fourth place in the Eastern Conference, while D.C. United still sits atop of despite falling to 14-9-5.
Even before head official Mark Geiger questionably dismissed Espindola for a high challenge on Dax McCarty, New York were wasteful with their opportunities in front of goal. MLS’ leading scorer Bradley Wright-Phillips lacked sharpness in the final third, and New York were unable to convert any of their 10 first-half chances.
Hamid made his share of stops in the opening 45 minutes, but he put on a Superman-like effort in the second half to keep D.C. from falling behind. The United goalkeeper stopped Red Bulls captain Thierry Henry on a couple of instances, including on a point-blank effort in the 77thminute that stunned the 14,953 fans in attendance.
United almost stole all three points on a counter attack in the 80th minute when substitutes Lewis Neal and Kyle Porter combined, but Porter’s shot was too weak despite beating Robles and the Red Bulls cleared it.
New York still could not find the breakthrough and almost settled for a draw that would’ve seen them go 0-2-1 vs. D.C. this season, but Sam came to the rescue.
Sam received a pass from an advanced Jamison Olave on the left side of the penalty area, dribbled forward and then slipped a shot under the seemingly unbeatable Hamid to provide for some late game-heroics that gave New York their first back-to-back wins since early in the season.
D.C. United, meanwhile, head to Jamaica to take on W Connection in CONCACAF Champions League play next Tuesday before returning to MLS action with a game at the Chicago Fire on Sept. 20.
D.C. United Starting XI: Hamid; Boswell, Kemp, Birnbaum, Franklin; DeLeon (82' Pontius), Kitchen, Arnaud, Estrada (65' Porter); Silva (53' Neal), Espindola
New York Red Bulls Starting XI: Robles; Duvall, Olave [A], Sekagya, Miller; Sam [G, 90], Luyindula, Alexander (71' Cahill), McCarty, Henry [A] (89' Bover Izquierdo), Wright-Phillips (45' Sene)