DC United vs NY Red Bulls Prediction, Preview and Odds -7/25/21
DC United plays host to New York Red Bulls on Sunday night from Audi Field in the nation's capital in a crucial Eastern Conference tilt. This will be the first meeting between the two teams this season, after splitting both games last year. Both teams enter Sunday’s game on the outside looking in if the playoffs were to start today. New York sits in eighth place, one spot out of the race, and DC sits right behind them in ninth place. For years, these two teams have battled and it has shown on the field, as prior to September 12th’s 2-0 win for New York, none of the prior four meetings had ended with more than a goal separating the two teams. Expect both teams to try to get the most they can out of this rivalry game, especially considering how close the two teams are positioned in the Eastern Conference standings.
United Look To Find Consistency
DC United has had an up and down return from the May/June break and heading into Sunday’s game at home, would love nothing more than to find a win and get the ship going back down the right path. In their six games over the past month, they’ve gone 2-2-2, but have gone 2-0-1 at home. With Saturday’s game at Audi Field, that should add a little more confidence for the home side to lean on. DC United is only three points off of seventh place in the Eastern Conference, sitting on 17 points through 14 games to go along with a plus-two goal differential. DC United has only won one of the last five games against New York Red Bulls though and will be looking to buck that trend and jump them in the standings by the end of Sunday night.
DC United has a brutal group of players either out or questionable for this weekend’s game and while many teams are battling Gold Up defections, DC United has that and then some injuries too on top of that. They will definitely be without Edison Flores (hamstring) and Brendan Hines-Ike (hip), while Paul Arriola and Donovan Pines remain out on international duty. Beyond just those four, there’s a handful of players questionable as well. The biggest name is Steve Birnbaum, one of the leaders in the back, but Nigel Robertha and Kevin Paredes have two goals each and would be a nice addition back into the lineup from an attacking side of things. Leading scorer Ola Kamara is available and will look to improve on his six goals for the season.
One player to keep an eye on is Julian Gressel. The former Atlanta midfielder has the experience and knowledge to make life incredibly difficult for New York Red Bulls. Add in Bill Hamid in the back and potentially Birnbaum, and this is a defensive group that can make things really challenging for New York in the attacking half. Another player to keep an eye on is Tony Alfaro, the Mexican international who will be expected to step in with Pines and Hines-Ike both out. His athleticism and speed on the outside should make him dangerous against the style that New York plays.
Red Bulls Look To Extend Unbeaten Streak
While DC United has struggled to find consistency over the last few weeks, New York has put together a nice run of form. They’re unbeaten in their last four games, drawing three of those, and only have one loss overall in the six games played since the May/June break. New York is coming off a road game the last time out against Toronto across the border and will be challenged heading back on the road for the second straight game, this one coming on short rest for travel. Knowing that they only sit two points off of seventh place and the last MLS Playoff spot, at 18 points and a plus-two goal differential, they’ll be coming out hungry to continue their run of success over DC United that has extended a few years now.
New York doesn’t have nearly as much space to take up in MLS’ availability report as DC United, but still has four players listed as out and two listed as questionable. Araon Long (Achilles), Danny Royer (thigh), Youba Diarra (hamstring), and Andres Reyes (hamstring), are all out for Sunday’s match. Reyes will be missed, as he sits on two goals this year, but Long is the key. One of the best center backs in MLS, his presence in the back will be missed against the attacking prowess of DC United. Sean Nealis (thigh) and Andrew Gutman (knee), are both questionable, with Gutman potentially being a crucial miss in the back as well if he is unable to make it work.
Cadn Clark and Cristian Casseres Jr. will both be ready to go though, as they co-lead the team with four goals each. Another player to keep an eye on is Fabio, whose creativity has led to five assists. Franke Amaya is another one, who after countless struggles in Cincinnati as their top draft pick, a change in scenery has seen him become a constant contributor in the midfield. While the offense should be fine, it’ll be defense by committee and interesting to see who gets sent out there to start, especially og Nealis and Gutman are ruled out.
Pick: New York Red Bulls (+230)
DC United would typically be the pick at home, but with all of their injuries and players out on international duty, it seems like a tough ask for them to get it done against New York, the team right above them in the standings. New York has dominated the series over the last three years and if nothing else will have plenty of confidence coming into the game. DC United will be without their top two defenders in all likelihood, if not their top three, as well as their top creator in Arriola, and then a handful of other promising pieces. Compare that to New York, who will be without some depth in the back but has nearly all of their offensive threats and DC United will be happy to get a point out of this game, while New York will be striving for the win.
In the last five games these two teams have played, only once has more than three goals been scored, and that was back in a 2018 meeting with vastly different rosters. DC United’s offense has been a little stronger the last month, but the injuries will continue to beat them and they aren’t likely to have much confidence going forward out of fear of leaving their in-experienced backline exposed, which should decrease their number of chances. For New York, they’ll be in a similar boat playing or a low-scoring game that won’t expose their young defenders to much. In addition, more than three goals hasn’t been scored in any of their last four games and has only happened once in their last seven games.