Red Bulls Eliminated by Bitter Rivals D.C. United • Latino Sports

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Red Bulls Eliminated by Bitter Rivals D.C. United

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There’s always next year? (Image Credit: Cesar Diaz)

Harrison, NJ – After Wednesday’s night MLS Playoff Eastern Conference semifinals second leg match was postponed due to heavy snowfall, the New York Red Bulls and D.C. United meet on Thursday night 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.

Prior to the second leg, the Red Bulls announced today a donation starting at $250,000 to the American Red Cross, The Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund, and The Mayor’s Fund for NYC Hurricane Relief to help local relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The team promised to donate half of its gate revenue for tonight’s MLS Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals match at Red Bull Arena and a potential Eastern Conference Finals home leg.

It must also be mentioned that a moment of silence during the 11th minute will be taking place in the honor of Viking Army SC member Bill Schopp who passed away at the age of 34 last weekend after going to the away match between D.C. United and the New York Red Bulls. It was a moment which celebrated his life and friendship.

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.

Along the blown scoring opportunities, The Red Bulls earned a penalty kick in the 69th minute and went up a man as D.C United’s GK Bill Hamid was issued a red card after flowing Kenny Cooper. Kenny stepped up and converted his first kick, but referee Mark Geiger ruled the Red Bulls entered the box too early.

Cooper second attempt was saved by reserve goalkeeper Joe Willis. With the match still relatively close, Red Bulls midfielder Rafa Marquez earned his second yellow card. As a result, the Red Bulls were reduced to 10 men. The combination of a clear pitch, which was smothered 24-hours earlier with snow and their Southward supporters was not enough to help the Red Bulls overcome their bitter rivals.

In the end, it was the D.C. United supporters who celebrated. Many had traveled for the second consecutive match and as a result, many will have two “Where were you?” moments, the United and Red Bulls postponed match and Thursday night’s hard-fought contest.

For many Red Bulls supporters, another season ended bitterly. In their 17-year history dating back to the days the club was the MetroStars, the Red Bulls have yet to win the MLS Cup. In a season where they posted the fourth best record in the MLS with a 16-9-9 campaign, this was merely a mediocre club with a good record. While they won convincingly against horrific clubs, they never truly packed the punch to be considered a true contender.

And yet, there was an opportunity and a ray of hope. With the elimination of the San Jose Earthquakes and Sporting Kansas City, the Red Bulls needed to eliminate United in order to face the Houston Dynamo for the opportunity to advance and host the MLS Club.

Instead, this was another season ended in disappointment. With questions of whether Rafa Marquez and head coach Hans Backe will return for 2013, this offseason will be interesting to follow. The only thing certain about the 2012 Red Bulls is that their supporters will definitely not have to endure seeing their club squander their scoring opportunities.

About Cesar Diaz

Cesar Diaz is the Editor-in-Chief.
You can reach him at [email protected]

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