The New York Red Bulls are headed to the Eastern Conference Final after taking down DC United 1-0 in the second leg of the MLS Eastern Conference Semifinal on Sunday at Red Bull Arena. The tally on the day meant that the tie finished 2-0 on aggregate.
The lone goal scorer in this game was Bradley Wright Phillips, who made DC United goalkeeper Bill Hamid look absolutely silly when he slotted the ball into an empty net right in front of the South Ward, where the Red Bulls supporters groups sit. The assist on that goal came from fellow DP Gonzalo Veron.
Red Bulls create majority of game's chances
Early in the game, the Red Bulls had a great opportunity, which proved that this is in fact a game of inches. Long Island native Mike Grella hit one right off the top corner of the post after a wonderfully worked short corner. Had the ball been one inch lower and one inch to the left, it would have been in the back of the net. Although the middle part of the game was largely devoid of chances, the Red Bulls also had a chance a few minutes before the goal when Hamid had to make a spectacular save to stop BWP from putting the Red Bulls up 1-0.
As the ball went into the wide open net the South Ward went bonkers, jumping up and down at the realization that Bradley Wright Phillips had just sent them to the Eastern Conference Final.
The game was not a pretty one by any stretch of the imagination, as there were a combined three yellow cards and 26 fouls. New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles only had to make 2 saves all series long. Both teams were caught offsides twice in this game.
This was the same result as the 2014 Eastern Conference Semifinal when the Red Bulls knocked out DC United. The only difference last year was that the 2nd game was at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC.
Bradley Wright Phillips talked about waiting for the goal saying, “It was something I was waiting for all game. I knew it was going to be a tough game, tight defense."
Meanwhile, manager Jesse Marsch talked about the confidence that all the Red Bulls had in each other, "There aren't many playoff series where a team, especially in a two-leg series, where a team just walks away with it. So as much as we felt confident in our ability to be aggressive at home and score goals, the playoffs don't often work like that."
DC United manager Ben Olsen talked about what his team needed to do today to win, "Game plan against New York is to get 15 shots on goal. It's not going to happen with us. We're going to get a few looks in each half and we got to do well with them. In the end, those situations came about enough in this game to win this game, but we didn't make that happen."
The Columbus Crew were victorious over the Montreal Impact in the other Eastern Conference Semifinal, meaning that New York will take on Columbus in the Eastern Conference Final.