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             === New York, D.C. finish even in ugly tilt at RFK ===
 
 Washington, D.C. (Sports Network) - It was an eventful, yet ugly affair at RFK
 Stadium  on Saturday as D.C. United and Red Bull New York opened their Eastern
 Conference playoff series with a 1-1 draw.
 
 The  match  originally was  scheduled to  be held  at Red  Bull Arena, but the
 residual  impact from Hurricane Sandy forced Major League Soccer to switch the
 location of the first leg to Washington.
 
 The  swap  left many United  supporters unhappy,  claiming that the home field
 advantage  earned  by finishing  the regular  season in  second place had been
 forfeited.
 
 Given  how  Saturday's opening leg played  out, New York's de facto home field
 advantage has only grown stronger.
 
 Not  only  will the Red  Bulls take  an even aggregate  score back to Red Bull
 Arena for the return match on Wednesday, but D.C. will be without budding star
 Andy  Najar  after the  Honduran inexplicably earned  himself two yellow cards
 mere seconds apart.
 
 The match did start brightly for D.C. as it had a glorious opportunity to take
 the  lead before  the close of the  first half. Red Bulls defender Connor Lade
 handled  the  ball in the  box in the 32nd  minute, but goalkeeper Luis Robles
 denied Chris Pontius on the ensuing penalty to keep the home side at bay.
 
 United  eventually got in front as Roy Miller inadvertently redirected a cross
 into his own goal in the 61st minute.
 
 But  D.C. gifted the visiting Red Bulls an equalizer four minutes later. Heath
 Pearce  headed a corner  kick back in front of goal and Bill Hamid fumbled the
 ball into his own net as he went to collect, stunning the 17,556 in attendance
 at RFK.
 
 New  York's  advantage became even more  evident in the 71st minute when Najar
 tripped  up  Joel Lindpere to  deny the Estonian a  chance at a quick counter-
 attack.  The  United defender  was visibly frustrated  as referee Jair Marrufo
 reached  to his pocket, and Najar hurled the ball in the official's direction.
 It  is  unclear whether Najar  intended to hit Marrufo  with the ball, but the
 referee  was left  with no choice but  to brandish a two yellow cards in quick
 succession.
 
 The Red Bulls struggled to make anything of the extra man for the remainder of
 the match, but the bulk of the damage had been done.
 
 The  series shifts to Red Bull Arena level at a goal apiece, New York boasting
 home  field advantage  for extra  time (if  necessary) and  D.C. losing  a key
 player.
 
 
 11/03 22:38:27 ET

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