New York - The last time the New York Red Bulls and D.C. United met was on Thursday, November 8, 2012 at Red Bull Arena to determine who was advancing to the MLS Eastern Conference finals to face last year’s MLS Cup runner-ups, the Houston Dynamo.
In a match filled with drama featuring a red card issued to a goalkeeper, rogue refereeing and intense emotions, the match was extremely competitive. Playing in an announced crowd of 14,035 the Red Bulls season came to end due to their missed scoring opportunities and Nick DeLeon’s game-winner in the 88th minute to give D.C. United a 1-0 win and a 2-1 aggregate advantage.
A few months removed from that bizarro-esque match, both teams will face each other on Saturday afternoon at Red Bull Arena. After two road matches in Portland and San Jose where the Red Bulls scored a total of 4 goals while registering a 0-1-1 record, Saturday’s match is their home opener.
Following their disappointing season-ending loss, several key changes followed. Hans Backe was no longer the Manager while Rafa Marquez, Joel Lindpere and Kenny Cooper moved on to other teams. After months of struggling to find a new manager, the Red Bulls finally made then interim manager Mike Petke the official manager.
So what’s in store for Saturday’s rival showdown? The only thing that’s certain is that the Red Bulls and their supporters are expecting for the home club to avenge their playoff loss to their most bitter rivals. Will the Red Bulls be able to hold on to a lead and not allow the opposition to score late. Who knows?
What I know is with the MLS season finally returning to NY/NJ, Saturday’s going to be filled with excitement and a fresh breath of optimism. Personally, I hate the offseason, it’s a repulsive and gnawing annoyance. I enjoy watching Norwich City and Levante on the telly but it does not compare to being in person at a MLS match.
With that said, I’m glad that I’m finally able to catch some live football in person. Seeing the South Ward supporters trio of the Viking Army, Garden State Ultras and the Empire Supporters Club. Many of them are my friends and I support their cause as supporters.
I’m also excited to catch with the staff over at Red Bull Arena. They work hard and they’ve always been more than friendly with me. In addition, there’s the members of the press I look forward to catching up with. We’re all a year older and yet, our love for soccer is stronger than ever.
Let’s talk colorectal cancer and AliveAndKickin. As stated in their website, AliveAndKickn’s mission is to increase awareness and prevention of colorectal cancer and increase early detection through screening and genetic testing.
On Saturday, this organization is going to “Turn the Arena Blue” as the Charity of the Match for the NY Red Bulls home opening game. To learn how you can become involved with AliveAndKickn: Click Here.
See you Saturday because I’ve missed you all!