Patrick McDermott

New York Red Bulls vs. D.C. United, 2012 MLS Cup Playoffs: Nick DeLeon stuns RBNY

With his team's first clear chance of the night, Nick DeLeon scored a dramatic winner for D.C. United against New York Red Bulls in an insane match that featured two red cards and a penalty save.

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DeLeon Goal the Difference in Wild Game

Nick DeLeon scored a late goal to send his D.C. United team through to the Eastern Conference finals, in a game that finished in dramatic fashion.

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NYRB-DCU: DeLeon Gives D.C. a late lead

Nick DeLeon put D.C. United ahead in the 88th minute, when his goal gave the visitors the 1-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinal against the New York Red Bulls. In a game that featured a red card to each side, a saved penalty, and of course a postponement of the match, DeLeon's goal, which came against the run of play, was a dramatic cap to a crazy second half.

D.C. had a good spurt of possession prior to the goal, and DeLeon made a well-timed run to beat New York's back line. He received a perfect pass from fullback Robbie Russell to beat the defense, and slotted it past Luis Robles, who couldn't have stopped it. Although New York had controlled much of the match, they could not convert their chances, and United's rookie gave the visitors the lead.

If the result holds, D.C. will advance to face the Houston Dynamo in the Eastern Conference final.

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Red Bulls-D.C. United: Hamid, Marquez sent off

The New York Red Bulls missed a terrific opportunity to take the lead as Kenny Cooper's second penalty attempt was saved by substitute D.C. United goalkeeper Joe Willis. Goalkeeper Bill Hamid was sent off on the play in the 69th minute that led to the penalty, and had something of a meltdown on his way off the field, as he argued with the officials and kicked a door heading into the locker room.

On the play in question, Dax McCarty sent a pass up to Cooper on a breakaway, and Cooper only had Hamid to beat. When he rounded Hamid, the keeper went to ground to block the ball, and tripped Cooper just inside the box.

On the first attempt, Cooper stuttered too much on his approach, and referee Mark Geiger called it off for encroachment by Thierry Henry. Cooper scored on that attempt, but when he took the penalty the second time, Willis guessed the spot and saved it. It was a huge save for the back-up.

About a minute after the saved penalty, Rafael Marquez evened up the numbers as he was sent off for a second yellow card on a late tackle. In some respects, he was lucky to have remained in the game after his first yellow card, when he seemed to punch Chris Pontius in the head. But with his dismissal, both teams are down to 10 men.

It took more than an hour for action to break out in this match, but the game remains scoreless and there is sure to be more action ahead.

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New York Red Bulls-D.C. United: 0-0 at halftime

The game remains scoreless through the first half for the New York Red Bulls and D.C. United at Red Bull Arena. The game has been dominated in the first half by the Red Bulls, but they haven't been able to capitalize on any of their chances. United had the best chance of the half, and couldn't finish it, either.

D.C. almost got the go-ahead goal in the fourth minute of the game. Nick DeLeon sent a cross from the right directly in front of goal to Lionard Pajoy, who tried to backheel it past Luis Robles, but the Red Bulls' goalkeeper was able to save the shot. Had Pajoy been able to pull off the chance, he would have been hailed as a genius, but since it was saved, he faced criticism for trying to get too fancy with his shot.

Other than that, New York largely dominated for most of the half. Markus Holgersson had an open header off a Thierry Henry free kick in the 14th minute, but it went well wide of the near post. Kenny Cooper sent a tricky square pass to Dax McCarty in the 19th minute, but Bill Hamid was able to stop McCarty's shot. And a scramble in United's box in the 28th minute saw the Red Bulls take several shots, including two by Henry that were blocked, a penalty kick shout for a suspected handball by Dejan Jakovic, and a shot by Joel Lindpere that beat all of D.C. but managed to roll inches wide of the far post.

The pace of the game so far has been frenetic, and both teams have lacked composure in the final third. Will this game finish in regular time, or will the series need to be decided in extra time or penalty kicks? That remains to be seen.

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New York Red Bulls-D.C. United: Lineups

The teams will try again tonight as the New York Red Bulls host D.C. United in the second leg of the Eastern Conference semifinal. The game was supposed to be played last night, but excessive snow on the field, the frigid temperatures, and the inability of the Red Bull Arena grounds crew to combat the dangerous conditions on the field meant the game was postponed until today.

All this overshadows the game itself, which will decide which team will face the Houston Dynamo in the Eastern Conference final round. These teams finished the first leg 1-1, with own goals by Roy Miller and Bill Hamid accounting for the score. As a result, it's all to play for in tonight's match.

The lineups as announced last night are the same today. The biggest change for New York from the first leg is that Kenny Cooper replaced Sebastien Le Toux in the starting lineup, while Robbie Russell and Lewis Neal replace Andy Najar (red card suspension) and Chris Korb (injury) in the fullback positions for United.

New York Red Bulls starting lineup (4-4-2): Luis Robles; Heath Pearce, Rafael Marquez, Markus Holgersson, Connor Lade; Joel Lindpere, Tim Cahill, Teemu Tainio, Dax McCarty; Thierry Henry, Kenny Cooper

D.C. United starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Bill Hamid; Lewis Neal, Dejan Jakovic, Brandon McDonald, Robbie Russell; Perry Kitchen, Marcelo Saragosa; Chris Pontius, Branko Boskovic, Nick DeLeon; Lionard Pajoy

The game is scheduled to kick off at 7:51 p.m. ET, and will be televised on NBC Sports Network in the United States. In Canada, the match will be aired on TSN2 and RDS2.

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New York Red Bulls-D.C. United game postponed

After a delay of more than 40 minutes from the scheduled 8:21 p.m. ET kickoff, Major League Soccer announced the second leg of the Eastern Conference semifinal series between the New York Red Bulls and D.C. United will be postponed until 7:30 p.m. ET Thursday at Red Bull Arena. Efforts to shovel the snow off the field of play were ultimately unsuccessful, as the snow from an early winter storm wouldn't let up enough for the game to be safely played.

As the NBC Sports Network discussed the conditions and interviewed both teams' coaches while waiting for word from league officials about the match, D.C. United coach Ben Olsen seemed prepared to play the match, although he granted that the conditions certainly weren't ideal. Meanwhile, Red Bulls coach Hans Backe was adamant that the match should not go forward, and said he told league officials that he definitely did not want to play in the extreme conditions.

Added to the concerns about the feasibility of the match were the potential risks for the fans attending the match. Although several busloads of D.C. United fans made the trip up to Red Bull Arena for the match and probably did not want to see the game delayed, the real risks of exposure for attending fans in a sport that isn't accustomed to matches in blizzard conditions had to be taken into account.

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New York Red Bulls Vs. D.C. United: Lineups

After a wild 1-1 draw in the first leg of their Eastern Conference semifinal series, the New York Red Bulls host D.C. United for the return leg this evening. The first match featured two own goals and a red card to Andy Najar, while the story heading into this match is the weather in New Jersey. With snow coming down all day, Red Bull Arena is an early-winter wonderland. Does that mean the orange ball is making an appearance tonight? Besides that, the conditions have led some to wonder whether the game will be postponed, but MLS Commissioner Don Garber was reportedly among those shoveling the snow off the field before the match.

Among the changes in this match is veteran defender Robbie Russell for D.C., as well as Lewis Neal, who came off the bench in the last game. For the Red Bulls, Kenny Cooper replaces Sebastien Le Toux in the starting eleven.

New York Red Bulls starting lineup (4-4-2): Luis Robles; Heath Pearce, Rafael Marquez, Markus Holgersson, Connor Lade; Dax McCarty, Tim Cahill, Teemu Tainio, Joel Lindpere; Thierry Henry, Kenny Cooper

D.C. United starting lineup (4-4-1-1): Bill Hamid; Robbie Russell, Brandon McDonald, Dejan Jakovic, Lewis Neal; Nick DeLeon, Marcelo Saragosa, Perry Kitchen, Branko Boskovic; Chris Pontius; Lionard Pajoy

Kickoff is scheduled for 8:21 p.m. ET, and will be televised on the NBC Sports Network in the United States and TSN2 and RDS2 in Canada.

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