This past Wednesday there were three matches in the MLS. One of them was the final match of the Atlantic Cup between D.C. United and the New York Red Bulls. It was a cup created for the New York-D.C. rivalry. The Red Bulls have been champions of this three-game derby for the past two years. But D.C. United have the most wins with 36. The cup is decided on the three games played against each other during the season on aggregate. Other than a chance to beat their rivals, there was a lot at stake in this fixture played at RFK stadium.
D.C. was trying to hang on to that top-five spot and New York would accede to the top of the Eastern Conference with a win. Andy Najar started at right back, which is not his usual position. He normally plays as a winger, but United have decided that this will be the Honduran’s new position.
After the Red Bulls took an early lead with a nicely constructed play finished by Joel Lindpere with an accurate left-footed shot, D.C tied it up in the 21st minute.
Finally there was a breakthrough, and quite a breakthrough it was. Dwayne De Rosario got his head on a long ball sent from Nick DeLeon at the edge of the box before Bill Gaudette could. It turned out to be his 100th goal in the MLS. He joins the likes of Landon Donovan and Jeff Cunningham in the 100 goal club.
De Rosario has been such a dominant player over the years. The Canadian international has had many great years in Toronto and Houston, where he often got to double digits in the goal column. He was also very effective as a young player in San Jose with the Earthquakes. It meant a lot to him, especially because he had a short stint with the Red Bulls last season. Scoring against your former club always feels good.
It was all spoiled, though. Wilman Conde’s right-footed blast into the top corner off a cleared cross shocked RFK stadium and it tied the game. It finished 2-2 and it was enough for D.C. to win back the Atlantic Cup 8-6 on aggregate.
It was also Shawlrie Joseph’s night to try to get back at his former club. The New England Revolution was thinking of the future by trading away their long time captain to Chivas USA on August 1st. It was not an easy decision to make and Revolution coach, Jay Heaps, stated that very clearly on the team’s official website: “It was not a decision we took lightly. It’s not a decision we came to on a whim.”
It was a glorious chance for Shawlrie Joseph, the former skipper for the Revolution, to get back at his old team, especially at Gillette Stadium. He pounced on that occasion by scoring two goals to help tie up the game after the Revolution took a 3-0 lead. It was a wild match to watch and it finished 3-3.
It’s great when players get to play against their old clubs because it brings fans to the pitch on a Wednesday night. Especially when it gets cold in October you’ll only see the die-hard fans out there in the rain chanting. Having larger crowds for those regular season games that don’t have that as much meaning anymore, like this past Revolution-Chivas game where both team’s playoff hopes were down in the dumps is great for the MLS.
On another note, Federico Higuain, the Crew’s new DP, helped them get the crucial win over the Philadelphia Union. He has really performed well in the few games that he has played with the Columbus Crew by scoring three and assisting many others. He really has become the creator for the Crew.