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NEW YORK RED BULLS

November 4, 2012
PLAYOFF NOTEBOOK
Olsen: Red Bulls are a 'beatable team'


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Though his team allowed a great opportunity to slip through its hands and feet on Saturday night, D.C. United coach Ben Olsen felt the Red Bulls can be defeated.

After placing more dangerous opportunities at the visitors and having a penalty kick saved, United walked out of RFK Stadium with a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the Eastern Conference playoff series on Saturday.

The Red Bulls will host the second leg of the aggregate goals series at Red Bull Arena at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

“It’s a beatable team," Olsen told a post-game press conference. "We should have won this game tonight, but 1-1, I’m OK with it. They are a beatable team, that’s for sure. Ultimately, I’m a little disappointed we didn’t win because I thought we played well enough to get a result.”

New York and D.C. finished the regular-season series at 1-1-1. United recorded a 4-1 home victory on April 22 before the Red Bulls rebounded with a 3-2 home win on June 24. The clubs played to a 2-2 draw at RFK Stadium on Aug. 29.

“I have learned that they are a beatable team," Olsen said. "Here or there – we can beat this team and there is a great opportunity for us to go to New York and try to do that.”

Backe: playing vs. 10 men a problem

If Red Bulls coach Hans Backe had his way, United right back Andy Najar would not have received a red card and forced the hosts to play man down the final 19 minutes of regulation and another four minutes of stoppage time a man down. Backe felt the man advantage did not do his team any good.

“I hate to play against 10 men," he said. "As you end up, they stuck back with two blocks and a back four in midfield, so it’s almost impossible to break down when you play like that.”

Coming to Pontius' defense

Olsen and some of Chris Pontius' teammates came to the United midfielder's defense after his 33rd-minute penalty kick was saved by Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles.

“Chris had his best performance in months. That’s a good sign," Olsen said. "He missed a PK – Dwayne De Rosario has missed PK’s, too. This happens. It’s not inexperience."

D.C. midfielder Perry Kitchen felt that Pontius will not have a problem bouncing back.

“He’s a guy that is going to shake off his mistakes and get on to the next one," he said. "And that’s what you want to see, especially from your captain. We weren’t any too worried about that.”

Henry not that impressed

Red Bulls captain Thierry Henry, for one, was not that impressed with Saturday night's game.

"It really wasn’t a great spectacle," he said. "It won’t be an easy one at home. We will see what we can do at home.”

 
 
 
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