D.C. United suffered their first home loss of the 2011 MLS season Thursday night, falling to the New York Red Bulls 4-0 in front of 18,052 expectant (and ultimately disappointed) fans at RFK.
In the first half, United's young defense, which featured rookie Perry Kitchen as the starting centerback for the first time since the March 19 season opener, was twice victimized after losing track of New York's star French striker, Thierry Henry. The former Arsenal and Barcelona man broke the scoreless deadlock in the 12th minute, when he was on the end of Jan Gunnar Solli's cross from the right wing. With Dejan Jakovic caught ball-watching, Henry was able to easily head home his second goal of the MLS season.
He added his third in the 38th minute, smashing a loose ball in the D.C. United penalty area past Bill Hamid after Solli simply outmuscled Marc Burch to a dinked ball from Dane Richards at the edge of the area. The Norwegian's centering pass deflected off Kitchen, who was caught ball-watching along with Jakovic and utterly lost sight of Henry. The striker duly ran on to the loose ball and made no mistake.
Ben Olsen rang the changes at halftime, as Branko Boskovic came on for the subpar Dax McCarty after the break and Joseph Ngwenya replaced Charlie Davies, who had his first real disappointing outing in MLS, at the hour mark. Boskovic had a chance to pull a goal back for the home side, but he banged a free kick off the crossbar in the 73rd minute.
New York put the result beyond doubt in the 76th minute, as Henry found Lindpere breaking into the United half. The Estonian required only a simple drag back to leave Clyde Simms sprawling in the dust before finishing past Hamid.
It was substitute Juan Agudelo who provided the finishing touch in the 91st minute, somehow breaking free of Jakovic to deftly lift another great ball from Solli over the outstretched arms of Bill Hamid and into the net.