New England Soccer Today

NY Beats D.C. in EC Semis, Faces Winner of #NEvCLB

The New York Red Bulls will face the winner of the Revolution-Crew Conference Semifinal series after beating first-seed D.C. United 3-2 on aggregate following Saturday’s second leg at RFK Stadium.

After getting a 2-0 jump in the first leg at Red Bull Arena last weekend, Peguy Luyindula’s 57th minute goal proved to be the difference despite strikes from Nick Deleon and Sean Franklin in the 37th and 91st minutes, respectively, giving D.C. the 2-1 second leg win.

But Ben Olsen’s side needed two more goals to overtake New York in the series as a result of Luyindula’s tally, which gave the guests the road-goal tiebreaker.

The fourth-seeded Red Bulls will either host the Revolution or Crew in the first leg of the Eastern Conference Final on Nov. 23 at Red Bull Arena.

D.C. entered the second leg stuck in a two-goal deficit after Luyindula and Bradley Wright-Phillips put the Red Bells ahead in the first leg.

The hosts nearly fell further into the red after a Wright-Phillips cross smacked Bobby Boswell’s arm inside the box in the 33rd minute. No penalty was given, and D.C. scored four minutes later when DeLeon headed in a cross from Taylor Kemp.

D.C. nearly put the series on level terms in the 54th minute when Fabian Espindola had a spectacular chance to steer a cross from DeLeon through. But the striker’s free header strayed wide of frame.

Espindola’s missed proved to be a costly one, as the Red Bulls found paydirt – and a valuable road goal – in the 57th minute. Thierry Henry went at Sean Franklin along the left edge of the area before sending it central for Luyindula, who easily tapped it through to make a 3-1 series.

But United was handed a lifeline when Roy Miller was red carded for a high boot on Franklin near the edge of the area in the 77th minute. With 13 minutes and the man advantage to make up the difference, D.C. went full bore on offense in the waning stages.

Minutes after Miller’s dismissal, Espindola found DeLeon on the doorstep, but the midfielder’s header sailed over the bar. But Franklin didn’t miss after volleying a Steve Birnbaum ball seconds into stoppage time.

It was too little, too late though, as D.C.’s best efforts fell short thereafter, and Espindola was red carded to add salt to the Black and Red’s wound.

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