June 25, 2012
Red Bulls don't fold after allowing early goal
By Michael Lewis
|Dax McCarty: "What a response from us -- fantastic, I thought it was complete domination. I really felt they really didn't get anywhere near us."
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
HARRISON, N.J. -- Consider the situation.
You're playing your biggest rival for an opportunity to move into first place in your most important game of the season in front of a packed house at home.
Some 30 seconds into the match, your rivals surprise you with a quick goal.
You have two options: you can put your heads down and never recover or bounce back.
The Red Bulls chose the latter and dominated play for the next hour or so in their 3-2 victory over D.C. United at Red Bull Arena on Sunday night.
"The first 30 seconds to give up a goal, it's an absolute dagger," Red Bulls midfielder Dax McCarty said. "You lose a little bit of confidence."
Chris Pontius' head off a Dwayne De Rosario feed had given United the lead. But the Red Bulls quickly rebounded.
"But what a response from us -- fantastic," McCarty said. "I thought it was complete domination. I really felt they really didn't get anywhere near us. They didn't have another chance until the last 20-30 minutes of the game.
"It should have probably been 3-0, 3-1, 4-1. It was a great performance for us. we were holding on for dear life near the end."
For three precious points and move into a tie for first place in the Eastern Conference.
"I didn't see anybody's heads or faces go down or anything like that," said central defender Heath Pearce, who wore the captain's armband in that game. "It was jyst like, 'OK, these are the circumstances and we've got to do our thing. I think it showed the resiliency of this group, the character of this group. I think we bounced back real well."
And then some.
It was like someone slaped the Red Bulls in the face: wake up and don't let this happen again.
"I would say the first 55 minutes is probably the most complete we have ever played," said coach Hans Backe, who is in his third year in charge of the team. "Absolutely phenomenal the first half and. . . . One way traffic."