D.C. United goes for a fourth straight win when it travels to Harrison, N.J., to face the New York Red Bulls (15-6-4, 49 points) at Red Bull Arena on Sunday.
Since former Manchester United and Everton star Wayne Rooney debuted for D.C. United (7-9-6, 27 points) on July 14 — the same night the team christened Audi Field — United is 5-2-1. Included are five wins in six home matches with the lone blemish a 1-0 loss to the Red Bulls on July 25.
“You want to keep pushing, grab as many points as you can,” D.C. United coach Ben Olsen said. “It’s never easy going to New York but we’ve managed to get points out of there historically.”
Rooney has three goals and three assists in eight games as D.C. has risen from 11th (last) in the Eastern Conference to eighth, six points behind Philadelphia and Montreal for the final playoff spot. D.C. United has four games in hand on Montreal and two on the Union.
One of the beneficiaries of Rooney’s arrival is striker Luciano Acosta, who has scored four of his five goals this season in the past three games.
The Red Bulls are also in a battle. They trail Atlanta United by five points for the top spot in the East as well as the overall standings and are one point ahead of New York City FC after the Hudson River rivals played to a 1-1 draw at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday.
Getting a point in a hostile environment is usually a good thing but the Red Bulls, 2-0-2 in the past four games, were unable to take advantage of NYC having two players sent off.
“I don’t know if there’s a positive,” Red Bulls forward Bradley Wright-Philips said. “They go down to nine men and somehow look better than us.”
—Field Level Media