ANALYSIS – One of the oldest rivalries in Major League Soccer saw its latest clash Sunday night. The New York Red Bulls hosted D.C. United in pursuit of the Atlantic Cup. Both teams were eliminated from the Leagues Cup at the hands of the Philadelphia Union, leaving them to refocus on getting into the playoffs for another year. With the teams evenly matched, there were few chances for a breakthrough. John Tolkin’s late free-kick was the difference maker, lifting the home side to a 1-0 win as the Red Bulls blank DC.
Red Bulls Blank DC in Atlantic Cup Clash
You’ve Got Your Passion
Fans seemed to enjoy this matchup more than the other purported rivalries in MLS. The Philadelphia Union and the New England Revolution give RBNY hate on the regular, and the league itself has foisted NYCFC and the Hudson River Derby on Red Bull. While these regional matchups make sense, the history of the Atlantic Cup means a lot more. So while both teams languish in the middle of the league standings, the atmosphere was reminiscent of years past. Red Bull manager Troy Lesesne recognized the impact fans have on the players: “The crowd was fantastic tonight… our fans showed up.”
READ MORE: The Hudson River Derby Goes Red Again
What’s The Hurry About?
Striker Dante Vanzeir made an early exit. Tom Barlow replaced Vanzeir in the 28-minute. This helped pick up the pace of the match in the first half, but actual threats on goal were few and far between. D.C. was unable to get a shot on frame in the entire match, helping to secure goalkeeper Carlos Coronel’s sixth clean sheet.
Carlos Coronel registered his 6th clean sheet of the season.
With 10 matches to go until the end of the regular season, he needs 2 more to tie his last year’s number: 8.
13 clean sheets in 2021 is his personal record since joining the #RBNY
— Gustavo Guimarães (@GdeGustavo83) August 21, 2023
The Red Bulls themselves were held to only nine shots total. Tolkin’s 88-minute free kick found the back of the net almost by magic, but RBNY isn’t complaining. Tolkin shared his view of that moment: “Yeah, I saw the wall was a little bit inside and the keeper was a little bit too far to my right and I thought I could sneak it in there. The grass was slick so I was able to get that little bounce and, yeah, found the back of the net.”
You Can Get What You Want
The Red Bulls are just one point behind DC with a game in hand, but both are out of playoff contention. New York has to welcome global superstar Lionel Messi as he leads Inter Miami CF in his first MLS league match. With only eighteen points and ten matches to go, David Beckham’s team has quite the hill to climb. But MLS is nothing if not unpredictable- no such thing as a sure thing. The game will take place this upcoming Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET and it will be shown live on Apple TV.
Photo Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports, of a New York Red Bulls Headshot, on August 20, 2023.