MLS Preview from The Sports Network (ET)

 

The Sports Network

New York (0-1-4) at D.C. United (1-2-1), 7 p.m.

Washington, D.C. (SportsNetwork.com) - Red Bull New York and D.C. United will square off in their first Atlantic Cup clash of the season when the two sides meet at RFK Stadium on Saturday.

New York took home the silverware from last season�s Atlantic Cup, taking seven points from its three matches against United.

And while the Red Bulls would be favorites to repeat as champions of the local derby, the two sides enter the weekend level on four points apiece.

New York opened the season with a disappointing 4-1 loss at Vancouver Whitecaps FC but followed the result with four successive draws. The club earned a point from a 1-1 draw at the Montreal Impact last weekend, a fair result in head coach Mike Petke's eyes.

"Yea, to be quite honest," Petke said after the match "To start off a goal down in under five minutes, is extremely tough for us. But I thought our two goals were taken very well. (We) had a chance to go up 3-1 with the penalty, but it wasn't meant to be. And then we didn't do our best defending job on their second goal."

The Red Bulls were without Thierry Henry and Jamison Olave for the clash due to the artificial playing surface at the Olympic Stadium. All things considered, Petke refuses to panic despite seeing his reigning Supporters� Shield winners go winless through their first five games of the new campaign.

"At the end of the day to come into Montreal and get a result, you take it," Petke said. "We're still unbeaten in four games - we seem to like ties. But it's early. It's still the beginning of the season."

Henry and Olave are expected to return to the fold at RFK, but D.C. will be optimistic about its chances of getting a result against the Red Bulls after keeping a clean sheet last time out.

United claimed its lone win of the season last Saturday by getting a 2-0 home win over the New England Revolution.

Chris Rolfe stole the headlines by scoring on his D.C. United debut after an own goal from Jose Goncalves had given the home side the lead, but head coach Ben Olsen believed it was the play of the central midfield pairing of Davy Arnaud and Perry Kitchen that helped turn the match in United�s favor.

"I thought Davy and Perry early on in the game were too flat, and that's why New England had a lot of possession," Olsen said after the match. "As Davy and Perry got out to pressure them in the central midfield, I thought the game changed. I thought they both had very good games. They are both warriors, and Davy was a stud tonight. I'm happy for him. He seems comfortable in that central position, which is nice."

Saturday will be United�s fourth home match of the season as the club has gone 1-1-1 at RFK so far this term.

New York, meanwhile, has been on the road for three of its first five contests. In addition to their season-opening defeat at Vancouver and last weekend�s draw at Montreal, the Red Bulls also played to a 1-1 draw against the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park on March 23.

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