N.Y. edges D.C. to share Eastern Conference lead
Harrison, NJ (Sports Network) - Red Bull New York moved into a tie for first place in the Eastern Conference on Sunday after edging D.C. United, 3-2, in front of a sold out crowd at Red Bull Arena.
It was end-to-end stuff in the Garden State as New York snapped United's four- game winning streak thanks to three goals in the span of 35 minutes across both halves.
United's Chris Pontius and New York's Brandon Barklage bagged braces for their respective clubs, but it was Jan Gunnar Solli's 55th-minute strike that held up as the game-winner.
D.C. (9-5-3) still holds the top spot in the East with a superior goal difference, but New York (9-4-3) is still level with its fiercest rival on 30 points apiece despite having played one less match.
The visitors got off to a flying start by taking the opening kickoff down the field for the first goal of the game.
Dwayne De Rosario and Danny Cruz worked the ball well down the right flank and Pontius was able to get on the end of the cross at the near post, nodding it past Ryan Meara who was caught napping in the Red Bulls goal.
The home side dominated for much of the match after that, and it was a former D.C. United player who was at the heart of the resurgence.
Barklage spent three seasons with United before being released by the club in the offseason, but he helped bite the hand that once fed him as he evened the score for the Red Bulls at the 20-minute mark.
The 25-year-old connected on a corner kick from Joel Lindpere with a flying volley, beating his defender to the ball at the near post and hammering the delivery past Bill Hamid with an aerial effort.
New York finally turned its possession into a lead when it went in front in first-half stoppage time.
Rafa Marquez's free kick was blocked by the D.C. United wall and the rebound found Barklage at the corner of the box. He grabbed the second goal of his professional career with a sensational first-time volley that bulged the back of the net with loads of power.
The Red Bulls continued to dominate on the opposite side of halftime, getting a third goal for some much-needed insurance.
Lindpere broke free on the left side of the box in the 55th minute and found Solli with a cross. The Norwegian had his first attempt saved by the feet of Hamid, but he was able to sweep home the rebound for his first goal of the season.
It proved to be a pivotal strike as United came storming back 11 minutes later.
Maicon Santos made the most of a substitute appearance by threading the needle to find Pontius with a brilliant through ball, and he made no mistake when he found himself one-on-one with Meara in the box, side-stepping the Red Bulls 'keeper and slotting the ball into the empty net.
Pontius leads D.C. United with eight goals on the season, five of which came in his two games against the Red Bulls.
He came close to netting a hat trick Sunday night but was ultimately denied as D.C. came up just short a valuable point on the road.
Both sides return to action on June 30 as New York heads to BMO Field to face Toronto FC while D.C. United returns home to square off against the Montreal Impact.