|The Red Bulls celebrate their game-winning goal. Photos by Jason Schott.|
The Red Bulls shutout English soccer legend Wayne Rooney and DC United, 1-0, on Sunday night at Red Bull Arena.
The lone goal of the match came in the 56th minute when Kaku fired one from just above the left corner of the box for his fourth goal of the year. All four of his goals this season have been game-winners.
Rooney argued vociferously afterward for the referee to go to video review, but it was to no avail.
|Wayne Rooney having some words with the referee after Kaku's goal.|
Red Bulls goalkeeper and captain Luis Robles Captain Luis Robles needed just two saves to record his ninth clean sheet of the season and 58th of his career.
Robles also inched closer to the century mark in wins as he tallied his 95th career MLS regular-season victory.
Perhaps the biggest save of the night came on a free kick from Rooney in which he got his shot over the "wall" and down onto the net, where Robles was hugging the post.
Right after that, Red Bulls forward Bradley Wright-Phillips took a yellow card away from the play.
The Red Bulls had a big chance soon after, in the 11th minute, when Daniel Royer slipped past
Rooney to get an opening on the left side, but he fired it over the bar.
After Kaku's goal in the second half, DC's best chance came in the 66th minute when Rooney got the ball in the box and he shot it just over the crossbar.
Rooney left in the 79th minute to appreciative cheers from the large crowd, but there was a smattering of boos, which was puzzling.
The Red Bulls improved to 16-4-6, with 52 points, just two points behind Atlanta (16-6-4, 54 points) for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. They also opened up a four-point edge on NYCFC (14-6-6, 48 points), who were idle this weekend.
The Red Bulls tallied their 10th win at Red Bull Arena and have captured 31 of the 39 possible points this season. They have recorded at least 10 wins at RBA in seven of the possible nine seasons since the building opened in 2010.
Red Bulls Head coach Chris Armas improved his record as Red Bulls manager to 6-2-2, and he said of the win, "It's a great win at home against a team that's been hot lately, and they are a good team. You know, so I think we talked even quickly now, like when you face good teams, that have a lot of confidence and quality attackers, and the spirit's high, it's not easy. It's not easy, home or away. So at home, the shutout, three points to start this week off, we feel great about.
"In terms of their attackers, you know, Wayne Rooney, you can see how good he is and what he means to their team because again, we said it coming in, he's a guy that makes all the players around him better. He can come underneath, and as much as we say, compress the spaces, get in front, anticipate, good players understand that they can be a step ahead of you, and on the night, I think it got better as it went along.
"And you talk about (defender) Aaron Long, for sure, we've seen the quality now for all the years, on the outside, national team, you'll see this guy is a big-time player but you can't talk about Aaron without talking about the other three alongside of him.
"So you see Tim Parker, that partnership, what that has meant; and then Murilla and Kemar. These guys take such pride in putting shutouts and limiting chances and they did tonight against a really good attacking team."
DC United Head Coach Ben Olson said of his team's performance, "You know, I think they have the better of it in the second half. But that's what they do. They kind of wear you down. It was a good exercise in trying to stay at a really high level when it comes to focus and intensity. But overall, it's still a game where we had a few chances that we should get something out of that game, and they seemed to make the play that mattered. It was back and forth. Both teams had a couple looks.
"So it's what it is. We'll get back to it quickly against Philadelphia, which is a huge game, and then Atlanta. So not a lot of time to dwell on this one. It's more about just getting the bodies back and getting ready for Wednesday."
Olson said of the decision to take Rooney off with that game Wednesday against Philadelphia looming, "Yeah, that's part of it, right. You don't want to, Wayne had a lot of travel. Wayne went back for some family stuff and you know, even with the chance, and some of that is fatigue. He's still getting his legs a little bit. I thought he was great. Yeah, it was geared towards -- twofold, getting them a few minutes, but also giving some energy to the game. I thought Darren (Mattocks), Ulises (Segura) did a very good job when he came on."
Rooney and Thierry Henry:
Wayne Rooney caught up with fellow English soccer legend Thierry Henry after the game, and gave him his jersey.
Rooney, who led Manchester United, and Henry, one of the best players on Arsenal, battled for years in the English Premier League.
Henry went on to play for the Red Bulls after his career in Europe came to a close and was a member of the coaching staff for the World Cup-winning France national team.
|Theirry Henry with Wayne Rooney.|