|Photo by Matt Kremkau
by Daniel Feuerstein
What just happened? What did we just see? What in the hell was that performance and how good did it feel to see this Red Bulls side do it during Hate DC Week. The goal total exploded into a horribly rainy and windy evening down in our Nation's Capital at Audi Field as the New York Red Bulls in a wild eight-goal thriller took down DC United, and have currently put themselves two points behind the playoff line and behind their most hated rivals in MLS.
They were off to a roaring start to begin both halves and never backed down. They knew their season was on the line to make a last-gasp effort to make the playoffs. They knew they had to give it their all and show their supporters and the rest of the league that they weren't dead yet. Two big goals from Omir Fernandez who smashed a volley and converted a penalty, while Christian Benteke converted a hat trick, but Cameron Harper made DC Pay late in first-half stoppage time.
A corner was delivered from the far side and not a single DC defender marked Harper until it was too late when he snuck in and converted the third equalizer of the opening half to reach the locker rooms knotted at three when the halftime whistle blew. It was stunning, it was miraculous. This squad who showed some ineptitude when they were down twice, came back to level the match at three.
Then they started off roaring at the start of the second half. No one was worrying, not a single player was feeling any self-pity and they went to work to regain the lead and did so by earning a corner in the 58th minute when Kyle Duncan took a shot that forced Alex Bono to make a save. John Tolkin delivered a beautiful cross bending towards the near post and then it was the Captain's turn, as Sean Nealis leapt in the air to head the ball down and over the goal line to retake the lead.
The hard-working defense by the Red Bulls and continuing attacks toward the DC net got them to a place where it hasn't been seen within the past five matches with losses or draws, but the icing on the cake came from Tolkin who got a beautiful feed from second-half substitute Luquinhas as he drove towards the net, got bumped by the defender, still was able to stay on his feet and chipped the ball past Bono for the win.
This victory was amazing. We have been pointing our fingers of blame at this team all season when things have gone horribly wrong, but this match was an amazing showing from start to finish. They never got down when they lost the lead or when they continued to get themselves into bad challenges. They just picked their head up and continued to march along and showed DC why they are hunting for the final place on the Eastern Conference table to make the playoffs and continue their streak.
I bet the players took their last performance at home against Austin FC personally. They knew they had a golden opportunity to get the win, but once again fell apart at the wrong time, and then couldn't muster enough to win that go-ahead goal. If Christian Benteke was the only threat DC United had, they had nothing against this Red Bulls side for this match. Now with four matches remaining (Two at home, two on the road), It's time for them to finish this off in style and attempt a magic trick like nothing we have ever seen before.