Preview: DC United vs New York Red Bulls

Peter Nolan August 19, 2019 386 Reads
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Who: DC United vs Columbus Crew
When: Wednesday, August 21st @ 7:00 pm ET 
LineDCU +143 | Draw +255 | New York Red Bulls +170

Three days ahead of facing NYCFC in the Hudson River Derby, the New York Red Bulls kick off their own Rivalry Week with old foes DC United in the latest edition of the Atlantic Cup.

DC sits fourth in the Eastern Conference, one position and one slim point ahead of their fellow MLS originals. However, DCU has played one additional match. New York has had a stuttering season, where they just cannot seem to put it all together.

There is, of course, a lot going on with Ben Olsen’s DC side. There is the Wayne Rooney to Derby drama. There’s the ongoing, where and when is Lucho Acosta going saga. And now Ola Kamara has been acquired and he needs to play.

Kamara just returned from an unproductive stint, goal-wise, in China. He has been a force in his MLS career, scoring 48 goals in 90 MLS appearances for Columbus and the LA Galaxy. The Norwegian striker made a 16-minute debut off of the bench in United’s 1-0 loss Saturday night in Vancouver.

Olsen left Acosta on the bench from the beginning but we can expect to see the dynamic attacker, who put in a 32-minute shift versus Vancouver, from the start on Wednesday.

And anyone wondering if Rooney is playing with one eye on Derby got their answer Saturday. Rooney blasted the officials on the sideline when he was subbed out of the match, and again later on Twitter.

Meanwhile, DC has added former Red Bulls stalworth Felipe to fill a gap in the center of the park, caused by the absences of defensive midfielder Russell Canouse and his expected replacement Chris Durkin.

Felipe figures to be a good fit, even if United fans have never been overly fond of the combative midfielder, going back to his Red Bull days.

NYRB Preview vs DC United

New York continues to attempt to right its defense, a struggle only exasperated by a transfer saga of its own involving 2018 MLS Defender of the Year Aaron Long. Long was “unsettled” as they say in the British tabloids by a series of offers from West Ham that his New York employers rejected as insufficient.

Long and his defensive mates hadn’t been quite as sharp this season as in 2018. Now with the playoff stretch coming, New York coach Chris Armas will be looking for his defense to solidify in front of goalkeeper Luis Robles.

That defense suffered a let down when it couldn’t protect a 1-0 lead Saturday night at home to resurgent New England. Of course, Armas might have expected more from his attack, which was unable to add to Marc Rzatkowski’s 18th-minute opener.

New York’s attack was hampered by the 29th-minute loss through injury of forward Brian White. White was tabbed to phase in as the replacement to Bradley Wright-Phillips.

Ironically, BWP now has to pick up the slack for the previously unheralded White, who leads the Red Bulls with nine goals this season. Armas will need count on Wright-Phillips to play starter minutes and to lead the line if New York is to have any hope of ending its MLS Cup drought.

Oddsmakers view this as an even match-up for the Red Bulls, even though it’s at DC. Rooney and co. are only slight favorites, +143 to NYRB’s +170.

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