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New York Red Bulls vs DC United Game Preview

Updated: Aug 20, 2023

Predicted Lineups: 

New York Red Bulls 

Starters: (4-2-2-2) - Carlos Coronel, Cameron Harper, Sean Nealis, Andrés Reyes, John Tolkin, Frankie Amaya, Daniel Edelman, Luquinhas, Omir Fernandez, Dante Vanzeir, Elias Manoel

Subs: Anthony Marcucci, Wikelman Carmona, Hassan Ndam, Peter Stroud, Jayden Reid, Ronald Donkor, Cory Burke, Dru Yearwood, Lewis Morgan, Tom Barlow

Injury Report:


  • Dylan Nealis

  • Steven Sserwadda

  • Serge Ngoma

  • Anthony Marcucci


  • Lewis Morgan 

DC United 

Starters: (3-4-2-1) - Tyler Miller, Ruan, Brendan Hines-Ike, Steve Birnbaum, Derrick Williams, Pedro Santos, Gabriel Pirani, Russell Canouse, Chris Durkin, Cristian Dájome, Christian Benteke, 

Subs: Alex Bono, Andy Najar, Donovan Pines, Eric Davis, Jackson Hopkins, Yamil Asad, Ted Ku-DiPietro, Jose Fajardo, Eric Hurtado

Injury Report:


  • Rodríguez (knee)

  • Jeahze (ankle)

  • Mateusz Klich (Red Card)

  • Nigel Robertha


  • Jacob Greene

  • Ted Ku-DiPietro (Ankle)

  • Pedro Santos (thigh)

  • Russell Canouse (groin)

The Managers: 

New York Red Bulls - Troy Lesesne

Lesesne was named Head Coach of the New York Red Bulls for the remainder of the Season in May, after he was promoted up following the Ted Bulls letting go of the previous Head Coach Gerhard Struber. He joined the Red Bulls ahead of the 2022 MLS regular season, having previously served as New Mexico United’s Head Coach and Sporting Director for three years.

Lesesne has steadied the club, and is getting more out of the players. He continues to use the high octane pressure that is Energy Drink brand football, but has the team playing with more confidence and scoring more.

DC United - Wayne Rooney

The English Gaffer has continued to improve DC United’s play in all aspects on the field. Every player has demonstrated some improvement this year. At the same time he has built a sense of camaraderie and teamwork that hasn’t been seen in years. 

Rooney is a pragmatic coach who continues to build his strategy around the strengths of his players, while putting in place tactics designed to mitigate their weaknesses. Rooney continues to preach the idea of playing with courage and on the front foot, yet at the same time patience and calmness on the ball when in the attack, so they can maintain control of the game. His team is playing better in defense and controlling the flow of the game. The next step is for the Black & Red to improve in the final third and create more scoring opportunities.

Wayne Rooney has displayed a tactical intuition about what his team needs late in games, and has done a good job bringing in substitutions.

Keys to the Match: 

Can DC stay in their Playoff Spot? With 10 matches left in the MLS regular season, DC United is holding onto the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, currently four points above the Red Bulls, who are 11th but have a game in hand on the Black & Red. Therefore this match is as close to a must win as a team can have at this point of the season.

Can Benteke score? Benteke started the season hot, and has scored eight goals and picked up an assist, yet he’s gone cold. Benteke had a couple good chances in the last few matches, but has failed to put the ball in the back of the net. Some have been brilliant saves by opposing goalkeepers, others have been poor shots by Benteke, but the biggest issue is there just haven’t been enough attempts. United has to create more opportunities.

Which midfield will United play? Who will play for DC United? Mateusz Klich will be unavailable for a dumb red card he picked up late in the match versus New England. At the same time Lewis O’Brien left the team to return to Nottingham Forest. Russell Canouse is questionable as he recovers from a groin injury, while Ted Ku-DiPietro is questionable as he recovers from an ankle injury. Chris Durkin can be written in with a pen. The DC United home grown has been a favorite for Rooney, and can be counted on to give his all. The new signing, Gabriel Pirani can be expected to make his debut with United, as his ball control and passing will be needed against New York’s press. If he’s healthy, would expect Russell Canouse to play as the six, providing cover and energy to the midfield. Jackson Hopkins and Yamil Asad are potential starters, but most likely will be off the bench.

Can DC break the Red Bull’s Press?

The Red Bulls continue to play high intensity pressure football. DC United have been very successful with the long ball, kicking long to Christian Benteke. With the Red Bull’s press, there’s a really good chance that the team kicks long, tries to get the counterattack going, and lets Red Bulls have more control of the ball than the they want. When they do have the ball, United has to keep it moving quickly and make their passes count.

Who Plays Goalkeeper?

Tyler Miller has played the bulk of DC United’s MLS matches, while Alex Bono has played the cup matches for both US Open and League’s Cup. Miller has been okay, while Bono kept two clean sheets during the League’s Cup. It will be interesting to see who Rooney chooses. Most probably it will be Miller, but wouldn’t be a shock if it’s Bono.

Of Note: 

This will be the 100th match between New York Red Bulls and DC United. It is one of the oldest rivalries in MLS.

This is the first matchup in league history to hit that mark.

Things to Watch: 

Offense - The Black and Red’s offense has been inconsistent the past two months. It has not helped that Christian Benteke is going through a scoring drought, and now had to part ways with Taxi who had scored 6 goals. Together, Benteke and Taxi should have be a great one-two punch. Unfortunately due to a number of circumstances this duo never lived up to their full potential. Now United need to help Benteke pick up his form by providing him more service in dangerous areas. The addition of Eric Davis could see Pedro Santos play higher up the pitch. Both players are capable of making the deliveries that Benteke needs. Could see Santos used to soften the blow of losing Taxi. Gabriel Pirani will also be looked to as a player who can soften the blow of los

Expect the team to continue to cross the ball into the box, and challenge Benteke to put the ball on goal.  

Defense - DC United’s performance during the League’s Cup was indicative of the team’s defensive performance this year. The team looked strong and in control versus Montréal and Philadelphia while against Pumas the team was pulled apart.  

This week the team will most likely go with a combination of Donovan Pines, Derrick Williams, and Brendan Hines-Ike starting and Steven Birnbaum as backup on the bench. With Victor Pálsson transferring back to Europe, it will be interesting to see who Rooney keeps on the team’s bench. The expectation is Brendan Hines-Ike over Birnbaum, as he is faster.  

If healthy, expect Andy Najar to start as he has the best ability to control the ball, and break the Red Bull’s press. Eric Davis will most probably get his first start for the Black & Red. Another player with strong on-the-ball skills and accurate passing. 

The expectation is for Ruan to come off the bench, where his speed is utilized against tired legs. As the team will be facing one of the best Attacking Midfielders, there’s a good chance Russell Canouse gets the start, so he can chase Gil over the pitch.

By the Numbers:

New York Red Bulls has scored 22 goals to rank 25th in MLS

New York Red Bulls have allowed 26 goals ranking 5th in the MLS 

New York Red Bull’s -4 goal differential, ranks 18th in MLS

Omir Fernandez has 3 goals and 3 assists for New York Red Bulls

Frankie Amaya has 4 goals 

John Tolkin has zero goals, but 4 assists

Tom Barlow has 2 goals and 1 assist

DC United ranks number 11th in offense with 32 goals scored.

DC United has conceded 34 goals, to rank 23rd in the league in defense.

DC United’s -2 goal differential ranks the club 18th in MLS.

Christian Benteke has scored 8 goals and 2 assists.

Donovan Pines has 3 goals 

Chris Durkin has provided 2 goals and 1 assist

Ruan has Zero goals, but 4 assists


Richard - 1-1 draw. DC United does not have a history of success in Harrison, New Jersey. It’s a tough place for the team to play. The expectation will be it continues to be a hard place for DC to pick up points

Coverage: Apple TV - Live Stream: 

Pregame 7:15p 

Listen on…

📻: 1190am, 101.1HD2, 104.7fm

💻: iHeartSportsDC

🔊: Any Smart Speaker 

📱: @iHeartRadio App

Written by: RJ Rolsen 

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