Friday, April 22, 2011

NYRB Rout DC To Go Top Of The East

It was almost inevitable wasn't it. With all those attacking players, it was always only a matter of time before the New York Red Bulls clicked into gear.

A win at home to San Jose last week looked to be the start of a run, and having watched New York's next match in that sequence, the rest of MLS must surely be quivering.

A hat trick of assists from Solli, a brace from Henry, and a goal a piece for Juan Agudelo and Joel Lindpere were enough to see the Red Bulls through to a comfortable 4-0 win over arch rivals DC United.

From the off, it always looked like an easy win, with Hans Backe's side keeping possession with ease, and it only took eleven minutes for the breakthrough to come. Impressive while bombing forward from right back, Jan Gunnar Solli whipped in a delicious right footed cross, which an unmarked Thierry Henry couldn't help but tuck into the net with a powerful header.

Clearly on top, New York were creating chances at will and DC United forwards Charlie Davies and Josh Wolff were starting to look isolated upfront, something which certainly could not be said for Thierry Henry and Luke Rodgers. Whenever New York found the ball there were options aplenty, De Rosario was always open in the center of midfield, and the likes of Dane Richards, Roy Miller and Jan Gunnar Solli all provided excellent outlets on the wings.

Given the danger posed by those aforementioned wing men, it was inevitable that the Red Bulls' second goal would be created out wide. Dane Richards chipped a lovely ball over the top of the defense, which was pounced upon by Solli who cut the ball back for Henry to sweep home. 2-0 up and well on top, New York were once again home and dry at half time, a trend which Hans Backe will hope continues.

However, it is possible that the first half's two-nil advantage caused the Red Bulls players to take their foot off the pedal a little, in the second half DC United were a much improved side. Inspired by substitute Boskovic, DC were starting to keep possession, and on seventy-two minutes the Montenegran DP smacked a shot onto  the cross bar with a laser like free kick.

Unfortunately for United though, their revival was to be short lived, breaking into open space, Joel Lindpere latched on to a Thierry Henry through ball and drove towards goal, before cutting the ball back and dinking a lovely finish past the helpless Bill Hamid.

At this point, all in the stadium knew the game was up, but that didn't stop United from continuing to plug forward in search of a consolation goal. A Boskovic curler flew just wide, and minuted later Boskovic was again denied, this time by the outstretched arms of Bouna Condoul.

With ten minutes or so to go, teenage sensation Juan Agudelo was introduced into the fray for the tired looking Luke Rodgers and, having gone close with a snap header, Agudelo added some gloss to a superb night for the Red Bulls. For the third time, a Solli cross whipped into the middle was met by a Red Bull, this time Agudelo who, flicking the ball up for himself, smashed a super volley past Bill Hammid. That was only Agudelo's second ever MLS goal, and it looks as though the youngster has developed a penchant for the spectacular.

The final whistle was greeted by some disgruntled groans from the DC support, unsurprising, they had just witnessed their side being thrashed by the Red Bulls.

Crucial to the win was Jan Gunnar Solli who had a hat trick of assists and looked dangerous running up and down the right touch line. Once again Thierry Henry put in a solid performance, the striker now is the joint second top scorer in the league with three goals from five games.

Though last week's star Luke Rodgers looked slightly tired throughout, Henry and Agudelo more than made up for his lack of form, with Agudelo producing the moment of the night, and perhaps an early goal of the season candidate.

For Ben Olsen and DC United, this match marks another step on the path towards a better future for the club, and the performance of DP Boskovic offers some positives from what was overall a woeful showing, especially in defense. On two of the four goals, NYRB players were unmarked in the box, something that Ben Olsen will have to work on in training next week.

A win for the Red Bulls sends them to the top of the Eastern Conference, and they are likely to stay there for some time, Philadelphia don't play again until April 30th.

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