United head coach Hernan Losada urges his team on. (Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports)
The Red Bulls’ hopes of reaching the MLS Cup Playoffs took a hit Wednesday night as they dropped a 1-0 decision to D.C. United at Audi Field in Washington, D.C.
The loss snapped the Red Bulls’ four-game winning streak and eight-match unbeaten streak (6-0-2). It was New York’s first defeat since a 2-1 loss at Columbus Crew SC Sept. 14.
D.C. (13-14-5, 44 points) leapfrogged over the Red Bulls (12-12-7, 43) into sixth place in the Eastern Conference while the visitors fell to eighth place, a spot underneath the playoff line with three matches remaining in the regular season.
Goalkeeper Bill Hamid was outstanding, making several vital saves for the hosts, who were burned for their worst defeat in their 26-year history Saturday night, a 6-0 thumping by New York City FC.
Kevin Paredes tallied the lone goal of the match.
The Red Bulls dominated the statistics.
They enjoyed a 59.8 percent ball possession.
They outshot United, 17-4.
They attempted 11 corner kicks to D.C.’s four.
They dominated all but category, except the final score.
“We generated a lot of good chances,” Red Bulls captain Sean Davis said. “We challenged their goalkeeper. We put ourselves in some really good spots, but we didn’t do enough to put those chances away. We weren’t ruthless enough. At this point in the season, the statistics might say one thing and there was a lot that we controlled, but it’s all about the three points.
“They’re going to walk away happy with the result, regardless of what the numbers say. So, it’s important for us to be ruthless in both boxes, get a shutout on the road, score on the road. You could say it’s not a fair result, but it doesn’t matter. It’s whoever walks away with the points and that’s them on the night.”
United grabbed the lead in the ninth minute. Julian Gressel fed Nigel Robertha down the right wing, and he crossed the ball to an open Paredes on the opposite side of the box. The 18-year-old defender slotted the ball home from the edge of the six-yard box past goalkeeper Carlos Coronel.
— D.C. United (@dcunited) October 27, 2021
The goal woke up the Red Bulls, who found their game.
In fact, they had the next two best opportunities in the opening half, although Hamid came up several times.
In the 24th minute, Cristian Casseres, Jr. fired a shot that Hamid saved with his left knee. Nine minutes, Hamid denied the visitors a goal the more conventional way, parrying Davis’ 20-yayrd free kick from the left side over the crossbar.
Hamid produced a pair of saves seconds apart in the 43rd minute, frustrating Fabio and Kyle Duncan.
Patryk Klimala found himself racing 1 v 1 on Hamid in the 58th minute, off a 60-yard pass from captain Sean Davis. Klimala, however, sent his shot wide right of its target.
On the hour, Hamid was at it again, this time denying second-half substitute Wiki Carmona with a right-handed save.
Hamid came up big again in the 89th minute, as he parried away Casseres’ attempt for an Olimpico goal off a corner kick.
D.C. was coming off a 6-0 shellacking by New York City FC.
“We don’t look at we don’t look past any team and we knew that going into this game coming off the the game that they had against New York City FC that they were going to do anything possible to get three points,” Davis said. “We had to be ready for that.
“It’s time to turn the page and move on quickly and be ready for the big matchup on Saturday night.”
That would be against Montreal CF at Red Bull Arena.