SUNDERLAND, England – The New York Red Bulls lead MLS in scoring, a gap that grew even wider with their latest blowout victory. D.C. United don't have to be reminded of the Red Bulls' offensive capabilities.
United look to avenge a 4-0 April loss to New York as they visit Red Bull Arena on Saturday night, when the Eastern Conference rivals meet for the first time since making a significant trade late last month.
The duo of Thierry Henry and Luke Rodgers up front has helped the Red Bulls (6-3-10) score a league-high 34 goals, and both strikers put one away Wednesday against Toronto.
New York, however, didn't stop with those first-half tallies. Showing off the team's scoring depth, Joel Lindpere scored his fourth goal in three games and Juan Agudelo struck twice to complete a 5-0 rout.
"Watching their past few games, it's just little mental mistakes that undo us," McCarty said. "Today we didn't have any of those. When we don't have any mental mistakes in the back I think we are going to be very hard to stop. You can tell the talent is here, no doubt about it. Now it's just of matter of proving it."
The Red Bulls certainly showed off that skill when McCarty was still playing in the nation's capital. Henry had two goals in the first half, and Lindpere and Agudelo wrapped up the scoring at RFK Stadium on April 21.
"It's obviously a revenge game for us," midfielder Chris Pontius told United's official website. "I think if there's any time to go up there and get a win in New York, it's now. Especially after them beating Toronto 5-0, they're feeling a little bit confident about themselves. I think we can go up there and spoil the party."
Getting a goal out of De Rosario would be a good start. In his D.C. debut last Saturday against Philadelphia, the two-time MLS Cup MVP assisted on Josh Wolff's first-half tally in a 2-all draw.
Coach Ben Olsen was impressed with De Rosario's performance, saying he "worked his tail off." De Rosario, meanwhile, liked what he saw from his new teammates.
"These guys understand the game at a high level and they make quality runs," De Rosario said. "It's good to come into a situation like this and to have an immediate impact and help the team. I'm looking forward to continuing an understanding with those guys."
What D.C. has to do if it expects different result than it got in April, though, is limit the space it gives the Red Bulls in the midfield. Olsen understands that, but that doesn't make it any easier to execute.
"When Thierry comes back into midfield and they have time to face you, they're very, very dangerous," he said.