|photo by Matt Kremkau
When you have been hoping and begging for the first win at your home ground for almost three full months, you think this team wasn't going to hang that #1 in the left column on the standings sheet. But after going winless in six straight home matches, it took lucky number seven to finally earn the full three points at Red Bull Arena.
It helps a lot when you are facing your oldest and fiercest rival in DC United as they limped up I-95 to take on the New York Red Bulls after they lost to this club in the 4th Round of the US Open Cup about a little over two weeks ago, by the final of three goals to nil. Your main concern for the home side was to get a victory, no matter how they did it. Cute, pretty, gritty, or ugly, three points were all you wanted that night.
But after another opening 45 minutes where DC went for the low block inside their area, many thought this match was going to end the same way the others have gone. Either a draw or a bad home loss. After Luquinhas converted the opening goal in the 54th minute, there was some relief within the home crowd, but after that, the fireworks came out of nowhere.
Four minutes later the Red Bulls were on the attack again with a lofted ball inside the DC area, that defender just used a flick header to push it away, but left it floating in an open space, where out of nowhere, that winter move of Brazilian midfielder Luquinhas came out on his horse and does a sliding, half volley on the field with his right foot and redirects the ball towards the far upper 90 and torched the net.
The look on the face of Red Bulls Head Coach Gerhard Struber was priceless. celebrating it with his boys near his technical area and then with the coaching staff. You can tell he looked like he got what he wanted for Christmas with that shot, this is a player the Red Bulls desperately needed since Kaku high-tailed it out of here for the middle east.
This season also showed another brilliant move by the club to bring in another solid player who didn't work well at one place but is working well here. Scottish midfielder Lewis Morgan has been a sensation since coming over from Inter Miami, scored a hat trick in the second match of the season, converted two penalties, and then joined the party against DC United.
In the 63rd minute, another poor clearance by DC United allowed Morgan to take a full volley with a side swing by his left foot and that ball flew hard, bending away from Bill Hamid and splashing inside the back of the net. Morgan has been playing well and has found ways to get the Red Bulls the necessary points to stay around the top half of the Eastern Conference Table. That's six league goals and seven in all competitions. Morgan's strike made it as the #2 highlight of the evening on ESPN's Sports Center Top 10 list.
When you come to Red Bull Arena, you will see solid goals get scored, but you don't expect or hope to get a wonder goal once in a while. But when was it a time you saw two wonder goals, two golasos to light up the Cathedral of Football the way the Red Bulls did against DC United? There has been the Olimpico by Thierry Henry, We have seen some fantastic set-piece goals from Felipe who tore down the Houston Dynamo, Bradley Wright-Phillips scored an excellent bending ball that curled in against the New England Revolution while down to ten men.
But the Luquinhas-Morgan show came to play and headed out to the international break with style. Not just to any team, to their most hated rivals in DC United. This was an amazing night where they needed to break that home jinx, but most importantly to get them to right the ship mentally. Now, most will be off while a few join their national teams for friendlies and or international competition, but for these next two weeks, have a smile. Watch those highlights over and over again and bask in the glory of the Luquinhas-Morgan show.