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D.C. United rewards faithful
by Paul Kennedy, November 9th, 2012 12:39AM

TAGS:  d.c. united, mls, new york red bulls


[MLS CUP PLAYOFFS: New York-D.C. United] The two legs were switched because of Super Storm Sandy. The second leg was delayed a day because of Winter Storm Athena. The series featured own goals and missed penalty kicks by both teams. Three players were sent off in the two legs. The D.C. United-New York series, decided in D.C.'s favor on Nick DeLeon's 88th-minute goal in the second leg, will go down as probably the most bizarre playoff series in MLS history.

-- With the score tied on aggregate 1-1, the series seemed to have been decided in New York's favor when D.C. goalie Bill Hamid was sent off for a foul on Kenny Cooper in the penalty area in the 69th minute. Cooper converted the ensuing penalty kick but the Red Bulls were whistled for encroachment in the area -- replays showed three Red Bulls had been faked out by Cooper's stutter step and stepped into the area -- and Hamid's replacement, Joe Willis, stopped Cooper's second attempt. It was Cooper's first miss in 11 attempts in MLS.

-- New York's advantage was negated four minutes later when Rafael Marquez was ejected for his second yellow card, marking the second year in a row the Mexican star's playoff run was cut short by a red card.

-- Veteran Robbie Russell, who had not started since July and was only on the starting lineup because Andy Najar had been red-carded in the first leg, set up the winning goal with a run from his right-back position and ball into De Leon's path. The rookie out of Louisville put the ball past goalie Luis Robles at the near post.

-- The series win was a reward for the several hundred D.C. fans who attended the game a day after the second leg was postponed because of a snowstorm. An estimated 700 fans had made the trek from Washington on Wednesday.

-- The loss extended New York's futility in the MLS playoffs. It has yet to win at MLS title in 17 years.

-- Marquez, who has one year left on his contract, said he wants to return in 2013. “I want to try and be a champion,” he said. “It’s my last year and I want to be a champion here in MLS. We have everything but we need to work. Myself, I start [by trying] to be in good shape.”

Nov. 8 in Harrison, N.J.
New York 0 D.C. United 1. Goal: DeLeon (Russell) 88.
New York -- Robles, Lade (Miller 91+), Holgersson, Marquez, Pearce, McCarty, Cahill, Tainio, Lindpere (Digao 91+), Cooper, Henry.
D.C. United -- Hamid, McDonald, Russell, Jakovic, Neal, DeLeon, Kitchen, Saragosa, Boskovic (Willis 72), Pontius (Dudar 92+), Pajoy (Salihi 91+).
Red Cards: New York -- Marquez 75; D.C. United -- Hamid 69.
Referee: Mark Geiger.
Att.: 14,035.

  1. Kenneth Barr
    commented on: November 9, 2012 at 7:27 a.m.
    Red Bulls played one of the dumbest football matches I ever saw. Three RB players encroached on Cooper's first penalty and right in front of the ref. What was he supposed to do, ignore it? Of course not. That totally threw Kenny off on his second attempt. The DC goal was another bit of RB stupidity. Conor Lade naively stayed back while the rest of the back moved up. The goal was perfectly on side and well taken. Then there was the inexcusable stupidity of Rafa Marquez, who got himself sent off after DC went down a player with a reckless two footed tackle. That could easily have been a straight red instead of a second yellow. In short, DC United were deserved winners while RBNY humiliated themselves in front of their own support. I'm sure Hans Backe took note and next season the attitude of this club will change. It absolutely has to.
  1. Chris Dailey
    commented on: November 9, 2012 at 8:18 a.m.
    Terrible way to end your season. Several players did not deserve the fate that Backe, Marquez, and Ladd sealed with their foolish decision making. In a must-win, Marquez gets a first yellow by inexcusably punching Pontius while challeging for a ball in the air. Then, worse, after DC is down to ten men, he delivers an unnecessary two-footed, cleats up tackle that gets him sent off. It was almost like he wanted the Red Bulls to lose. Ladd, bless his heart and will, needs more experienced. He seemed in over his head for much of the year. Though, I think the kid will be better going forward. Backe bringing in Miller seemed odd and it got worse when he attempted a fueld goal instead of shot on frame with Henry standing by. His does Backe let that happen? Positively, Holgerson and Robles played extemely well. Losing Lloyd Sam didn't help the Red Bulls cause. Congratulations, DC. They played intelligent, have great fans, and did enough to move on to Eastern Conference Finals. Rock on, MLS!
  1. Gus Keri
    commented on: November 9, 2012 at 8:27 a.m.
    There will be no next season for Backe, I think, and I hope this is the last time we see Rafa Marquez in a Red Bull shirt. Rafa has been nothing but trouble since he joined NYRB. Backe has abandoned his patient build-up style in favor of a more chaotic approach which DC handled very well. Also, he kept his stupid philosophy of not substituting until the last minutes of the game. the team needed some fresh ideas in the second half. But the most disappointing thing is how Henry himself led the encroachment attempt that cost the PK, and in the most outragous moment, he didn't take the last free kick of the game when the whole stadium was calling his name. He let the just-substituted-in Miller who had not gotten into the game yet take it. But I guess it wasn't RBNY's night (or season) but then, for how many seasons are we going to say that?
  1. Valerie Metzler
    commented on: November 9, 2012 at 10:32 a.m.
    Red Bull death wish at the end, last night, I think. What a game! This is one to watch, in full, again. I agree with the comments about Marquez. And, why Miller??? Oh, my. But, who was removed when Hamid got the red? I missed that.
  1. Ramon Creager
    commented on: November 9, 2012 at 10:35 a.m.
    Kenneth Barr, I think it was Jimmy Conrad who said on Twitter that the same player should never retake a PK. I'm wondering if there isn't something to that. Willis won the mind game with Cooper, guessing he would change up. With a new kicker, it's a blank slate. Heck, Henry was available. I'm sure he's a competent PK taker. As for DC, I love what Olsen has been able to do with them after De Ro went down. Hasn't always been pretty, but he's got them playing the way we all remember him playing. His performance in the 2004 MLS Cup after Kovalenko got sent off is one of the most determined performances I've seen.
  1. Ramon Creager
    commented on: November 9, 2012 at 10:37 a.m.
    Valerie, Boskovic made way for Willis after Hamid got the red.
  1. Valerie Metzler
    commented on: November 9, 2012 at 10:42 a.m.
    Ah, yes. Gracias, Ramon.
  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: November 9, 2012 at 1:17 p.m.
    IMHO, Cooper should have forgotten about the stutter step on his repeat PK and blasted the ball down the middle (Messi was involved in a similar situation and missed the second PK attempt). As for Rafa, what can anyone say about a two footed foul which occurred deep in the United half...for a top level player, this was stupidity at its best and totaly let the team's time to unload Rafa for the good of the team...on the DC goal, both defenders bit toward Russell and let DeLeon sneak in for the shot; that was not smart defending...TV commentator Arlo White called this game an 'epic'...he must have been watching a different game on simulcast or he is delusional.
  1. Allan Lindh
    commented on: November 9, 2012 at 5:32 p.m.
    A team that year after year pays a psychopath like Marquez millions gets exactly what they deserve. And now he says he'll get in shape next year. I suspect the Red Bulls pay him as much as Dom Kinnear's entire salary bill in Houston. Intelligence matters, in owners, coaches, players -- Kinnear and Yallop are clearly the best coaches in the league.

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