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Red Bulls defeat D.C. United, 1-0, in first leg of Eastern Conference Semifinal

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (Via New York Red Bulls) – The New York Red Bulls defeated D.C. United, 1-0, on Sunday afternoon at RFK Stadium in the first leg of an Eastern Conference Semifinal in the MLS Cup Playoffs. Dax McCarty got the game-winner to give New York its first playoff win at RFK Stadium in franchise history. The Red Bulls hold a one-goal advantage heading into the second leg next Sunday at Red Bull Arena.

New York is now 3-7-2 all-time against D.C. in the playoffs, and 1-4-2 at RFK. New York is also 13-21-8 all-time in the MLS playoffs.

McCarty’s marker came in the 71st minute when the captain freed himself near the back post on a set piece and headed home a ball off the foot of Sacha Kljestan. It was the second career post-season goal for McCarty in his 21st playoff appearance, and his first playoff goal for New York in his 13th playoff game.

It was the third playoff assist for Kljestan, who played eight playoff games with Chivas USA. Kljestan was credited with a game-high five chances created, followed by three each from Sal Zizzo and Felipe.

The Red Bulls also return home with an edge in away goals scored, which serves as the first tie-breaker should the two-leg, home-and-home series finish tied after 90 minutes next weekend. If the teams also finished tied on away goals, the series will head to a 30-minute overtime, without the ‘away goals’ rule, and would continue to penalty kicks if needed.

Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles did well to defend crosses and dangerous balls played in by D.C., but was not required to make a save, as New York prevented D.C. from earning a shot on goal. It is the second career postseason shutout for Robles, who also shut out D.C. in the first leg of the 2014 Eastern Conference Semifinals. Robles finished the regular season with nine shutouts and overtook Tony Meola for the all-time franchise lead in clean sheets back in August.

New York had nine shots on frame, and held just under 60% of the possession for the match.

Ronald Zubar subbed into the match in the 51st minute, replacing an injured Damien Perrinelle.

The teams will meet again for the second leg next Sunday, November 8, at Red Bull Arena. Kickoff time for that match has not yet been determined.

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