It’s Heineken Rivalry Week in MLS, and for D.C. United, that means the New York Red Bulls are coming to town. These two teams have been facing off in MLS for over 20 years, and on tonight, they will battle to see who will take the points in their first matchup this season. With Atlanta United and the Philadelphia Union starting to pull away in the Eastern Conference, these points could also be critical to the Black-and-Red’s playoff run. So, here is everything you need to know about D.C. United’s next opponent.
The New York Red Bulls currently sit in the No. 5 spot in the Eastern Conference, just one point behind No. 4 D.C. United. Only one point separates them from the Black-and-Red, although both teams sit well above the playoff line. In their last five matches, the Red Bulls are 2-2-1. Their most recent game was a 1-1 draw against the New England Revolution over the weekend. While the Red Bulls found an early goal from Marc Rzatowski, the Revs dominated the rest of the match and a 65th-minute goal from Gustavo Bou left the two teams splitting the points.
Players to Watch
Brian White leads the team with nine goals this season, including four in his last ten games, and despite his early exit against the New England Revolution, it appears he will be available for the match tonight. Daniel Royer is a close No. 2 with eight goals, including five in his last ten games. Royer also leads the team with seven assists this season, followed by Rzatowski with six. While Rzatowski only has two goals this season, one of those goals came against New England over the weekend.
Luis Robles is the man between-the-posts for New York. He’s been the starting goalkeeper for the Red Bulls since 2013, accumulating 230 starts. He has sit shutouts this season, but has allowed a total of eight goals in the last five games. Among their notable defenders is Aaron Long, who is widely considered one of the best defenders in the league. In 2018, he was awarded the MLS Defender of the Year award and was included in the MLS Best XI. More recently, he was named to the CONCACAF Gold Cup Best XI after appearing for the U.S. this summer.
D.C. United’s rivalry with the Red Bulls spans over two decades. Tonight’s match will be their first meeting in 2019, but New York’s first trip to Audi Field last season was a memorable one. The Black-and-Red scored first with a goal in the 25th minute from Paul Arriola. Then, Bradley Wright-Phillips equalized in the 41st minute. D.C. United pulled ahead again with a goal in the 64th minute from Wayne Rooney, but less than fifteen minutes later, Wright-Phillips had equalized again. Finally, in the 87th minute, Luciano Acosta scored the goal to put the Black-and-Red ahead-- but Wright-Phillips equalized in the 90th minute. The final score of the game was 3-3, with the two sides splitting points. Hopefully, the match tonight adds another exciting chapter to one of the oldest rivalries in MLS.