Atlantic Cup (Major League Soccer)

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"Atlantic Cup (United States)" redirects here. For the Atlantic Cup in rugby league, see Rugby League Atlantic Cup.
Atlantic Cup
Other names I-95 Derby
Locale Mid-Atlantic
Teams D.C. United vs. New York Red Bulls
First meeting May 5, 1996 (DC 1–1 NY)
Latest meeting August 30, 2015 (NY 3–0 DC)
Next meeting TBA
Meetings total 77
Most wins D.C. (40 wins)
All-time series 41–24–10 (D.C.)
Regular season MLS: 32–21–8 (D.C.)
Open Cup: 2–1–0 (D.C.)
Postseason results 7–2–2 (D.C.)
Largest victory NY 0–5 DC (Sept 16, 1998)

The Atlantic Cup is both the name of the rivalry, as well as the trophy awarded to the winner of the regular season series between Major League Soccer rivals D.C. United, and the New York Red Bulls. Presently, the series occurs three times a year, with either United hosting two matches and playing at the Red Bulls, or vice versa.

Inaugurated in 2002, the Atlantic Cup has translated into one of the most bitter rivalries in Major League Soccer and in American soccer.[1][2] The origins of the rivalry are unknown, but some claim that it developed due to the cities relative proximity to each other, and the frequency of the two clubs playing one another in league, playoff and cup play. For United, the Red Bulls are the only opponent they have competed against in more than five occasions in both the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and the MLS Cup Playoffs.

Traditionally, the rivalry has been in favor of D.C. United, in terms of silverware collected, and matches won.[3] Over both club's histories, United has won a dozen major titles, while New York was the last original MLS franchise to win its first major (in 2013). However, while the Atlantic Cup was dominated by D.C. United during a majority of the 2000s, New York won every series in the 2010s until 2012.[4] The two sides have met 79 times across all competitions, 67 of them being in MLS regular season play, nine from MLS Cup playoff play and three from U.S. Open Cup play.

The New York Red Bulls are the current titleholders of the Atlantic Cup. The first match of the 2013 season ended in a 0-0 draw. The Red Bulls won an away match 2-0 and then won the third match at home 2-1. Red Bull goalkeeper Luis Robles saved a penalty shot in the later stages of the match after the Red Bulls went down to 10 men.

The rivalry[edit]


The two teams first met on May 12, 1996; when the New York Red Bulls were branded as the New York/New Jersey MetroStars. The game, played at the former Giants Stadium was played in front of a crowd of 14,722; and ended 1–1 in regulation time. In regulation time, United's John Harkes scored United's first ever goal against the MetroStars off of an assist from Tony Sanneh in the 11th minute. The MetroStars' Giovanni Savarese drew the match level in the 62nd minute. At the time, if Major League Soccer ended drawn at the end of regulation time, it entered the 35-yard shootout. In the shootout, the MetroStars won the first match of the series 2–1.

During the inaugural regular season, the two sides would meet each other three more times, with the two sides sharing spoils. The 1996 season ended gridlocked with each club winning two matches apiece, winning one match in their home stadium, and another on the road. However, on aggregate goals, United outscored the MetroStars 6–4. The two sides met again in the Conference Semifinals 1996 MLS Cup Playoffs, where United defeated the Red Bulls 2–1 in a best-of-three series. The first game of the post-season series, played on September 24, 1996, ended in the MetroStars' favor, as NY/NJ posted a victory in the shootout following a 2–2 tie after regulation. Three days later, United earned a 1–0 regulation victory at home, tying the series at 1–1, before culminating the series with a 2–1 victory, thanks to an 89th minute penalty kick from Raul Diaz Arce. In the 1996 MLS Cup Playoffs, United would eventually go on to win the inaugural MLS Cup, defeating the Los Angeles Galaxy, 3–2.

By next year, the two franchises took opposite routes in MLS' sophomore campaign, with D.C. United eventually going on to win their second MLS Cup championship, while the NY/NJ MetroStars failed to qualify for the 1997 MLS Cup Playoffs altogether. Despite the poorer form from the MetroStars, the club won the regular season series against United, through the virtue of more aggregate goals.[5] The two sides faced off four times during the season, with United winning the first two outings, while the MetroStars won the final two meetings. In the final regular season matchup, held on September 27, 1997; United lost at home by a 3–1 scoreline against the MetroStars, ultimately failing to win the series.[5]

Arrival of the formal cup[edit]

At the start of the 2002 Major League Soccer season, a formal trophy was incarnated by the administrators of D.C. United and the MetroStars, which was titled the "Atlantic Cup". In the 2002 series, United earned the trophy, winning two of the three regular season outings against the MetroStars. Despite the success, neither team qualified for the 2002 MLS Cup Playoffs, being the only two teams in the league not to qualify that season.

During the 2003 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, the MetroStars and United both enjoyed successful Open Cup campaigns, meeting each other in the semifinal round of the Open Cup, marking the first time the two rivals met in the domestic tournament. In the quarterfinals, the MetroStars enjoyed a golden goal victory from an Amado Guevara goal in the 116th minute, defeating fellow MLS side, the New England Revolution, in the process. United faced USISL Pro League side (third division), Wilmington Hammerheads. The match, played in Wilmington, North Carolina, saw United emerge victorious 1–0 off a Ronald Cerritos goal in the 30th minute.

The October 1, 2003 Open Cup semifinal affair was hosted by the MetroStars and played on at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, New Jersey, marking the first time in Atlantic Cup history the two sides met at Yurcak.[6] In the outing, United got the go-ahead goal in the 18th minute of play off a strike from Galin Ivanov. Honduran international, Amado Guevara, netted two unanswered goals for the MetroStars in the 20th and 43rd minutes of play, giving the MetroStars a 2–1 lead going into the break. With less than 15 minutes remaining in regulation, United's Cerritos netted the equalizer, only before longtime MetroStars striker, John Wolyniec netted the match-winner, sending the MetroStars to their first ever championship of a major tournament.[7]

Early club connections[edit]

In addition, early in the history of the league, there were personality clashes between members of the two teams. For example, MetroStars players Tony Meola and Tab Ramos were long time acquaintances of DC United's captain John Harkes. All three players were natives of New Jersey and had played together and against each other most of their lives. DC fans especially singled out Meola (who was briefly an actor and who had tried out to be the placekicker for the New York Jets) for scorn. In response, MetroStars supporters tended to reserve most of their scorn for Richie Williams. Ironically, former DC assistant coach Bob Bradley would coach the MetroStars, and the Red Bulls coaching staff was also headed by former DC coach Bruce Arena until the end of the 2007 season, assisted by Harkes and Williams.

Red Bull controversy[edit]

The rivalry became even greater when the two met at Giants Stadium on April 22, 2006 as Alecko Eskandarian scored the first goal of a 4–1 D.C. United victory. After the goal he took a sip of Red Bull energy drink and then spit it on the ground as an intentional slight on the recently renamed New York Red Bulls. MLS fined Eskandarian $250 for his actions.

Recent years[edit]

Thierry Henry was one of several high profile acquisitions by New York in 2010.

Throughout the 2010 season, D.C. United hit an all-time nadir record wise, whereas the New York Red Bulls were making several high profile acquisitions, causing some to believe that New York was becoming the more dominant Atlantic Cup team. On May 1, 2010; while United had lost their first four regular season matches, New York had won their first four matches. Attaining opposite records of 4–0–0 and 0–0–4, respectively, New York earned a 2–0 road win at RFK Stadium. The win was New York's first road win against D.C. since October 8, 2005 and their first win against United since 2008, as well as their first shutout against United since 2006. Subsequently, United drew 0–0 against New York in their first meeting in Red Bull Arena allowing the Red Bulls to win the Atlantic Cup derby for the first time since 2003, ending a six-year stretch of titles won by D.C.

The rivalry intensified, mainly between United and Red Bulls supporters in April 2011, when New York visited D.C. At the time, New York had been on a two-game winning streak, and held by far the best Eastern Conference record. United, rebuilding from the prior year were much lower in the standings. Goals from Thierry Henry, Joel Lindpere and Juan Agudelo lead the Red Bulls to a commanding 4–0 victory over United, making it the worst loss United suffered at home since the 2005 MLS Cup Playoffs, and their worst loss ever to New York. However, in the return match, United earned a 1–0 away victory at Red Bull Arena, giving them some consolation over New York, but ultimately failing to win the Atlantic Cup for the second straight year. In spite of winning the Atlantic Cup for two-straight years, making it New York's first time since 2003, players expressed disinterest in the honor.[citation needed]

On June 24, 2012, the two sides clashed again in the second or three legs of the series. The match ended in New York's advantage, earning a 3–2 victory over D.C. Ex-United midfielder Brandon Barklage netted two of the Red Bulls' three goals. United's Chris Pontius scored the fastest goal in franchise history, scoring 29 seconds after kickoff. The announced crowd of 25,187 was the largest in Red Bull Arena history, and the largest crowd to witness the rivalry since 2004.


La Barra Brava and Screaming Eagles supporters groups at RFK Stadium.

A majority of the Atlantic Cup derby is seen between the supporters groups of D.C. United and Red Bull New York. Two of the largest and oldest supporters clubs in Major League Soccer history, originate as supporters of United and Red Bull. The largest supporters groups of D.C. United, La Barra Brava, and the Screaming Eagles, formed in 1995, a year before the inaugural season of the league. Likewise, the first supporters group for New York, the Empire Supporters Club also formed in 1995, making the three fan clubs amongst the oldest in modern day American soccer, the first version of super-fans seen in American soccer since the late 1970s/early 1980s during the North American Soccer League era.

Over the years, several other supporters groups have sprouted to support D.C. United and the New York Red Bulls. Since 1996, La Norte and the District Ultras formed in support of D.C. United. Likewise the Garden State Ultras, a group of Red Bull fans based in New Jersey, and the Viking Army, named in tribute to former Red Bull coach, Hans Backe and his Scandinavian roots, have formed. La Norte is known for bringing a heavy Latin-American feel to RFK Stadium and its atmosphere, launching toilet paper, banners, and playing various instruments much like club teams in South America. The District Ultras are an ultras fan group that is known for its controversial stances in opposistion to the league structure of MLS, and the way the league operates under its single entity structure. Throughout the first few years of existence, the Ultras have been known for very political signs denouncing the franchise set up existing in MLS and promoting a more independent club setup, commonly seen throughout the rest of the World and in the lower divisions of the American soccer pyramid.

Because of the proximities of the New York City and Washington, D.C. metropolitan areas (about 228 miles, or 367 kilometers)[8] matches between the two clubs have high levels of away supporters, average in the thousands for matches.

Players and transfers[edit]

A total of 34 different players have played for D.C. and New York at some point in their careers.

D.C., then New York[edit]

Name Pos D.C. New York
Career Apps Goals Career Apps Goals
United States Jeff Agoos DF 1996–2000 158 7 2005 27 0
United States Eddie Pope DF 1996–2002 143 8 2003–2004 42 0
United States Bobby Convey MF 2000–2004 89 8 2014– 12 0
Bolivia Jaime Moreno FW 1998–2002, 2004–2010 150 69 2003 11 2
Brazil Thiago Martins FW 2003 5 0 2006 1 0
Ukraine Dema Kovalenko MF 2003–2005 82 12 2006–2008 35 2
United States Dax McCarty MF 2011 13 0 2011– 72 7
United States Brandon Barklage MF 2009–2011 11 0 2012–2013 42 2

New York, then D.C.[edit]

Name Pos New York D.C.
Career Apps Goals Career Apps Goals
United States A. J. Wood FW 1996–1997 36 7 1998–2001 74 1
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Ezra Hendrickson DF 1997 8 0 2004 12 0
United States Mike Petke DF 1998–2002, 2009-2010 134 5 2003–2005 58 5
United States Kenny Arena DF 2003–2004 20 1 2005 0 0
United States Jeff Parke DF 2004–2008 132 1 2014– 4 0
United States Santino Quaranta MF 2007 3 0 2008–2011 97 11
Canada Dwayne De Rosario MF 2011 13 2 2011–2013 68 23


With 13 major honors, D.C. United have won more major competitions than any other Major League Soccer club,[9] and are tied for the most of any North American soccer franchise ever.[10] D.C. United won their first major title in 1996, winning the 1996 MLS Cup championship. Since then, they have claimed three additional MLS Cups (league championship), four Supporters' Shields (league premiership), three U.S. Open Cups (national championship) and one CONCACAF Champions Cup title (continental championship). In addition, United won the 1998 Copa Interamericana, an infrequently-held and now-defunct super cup between the champions of CONCACAF and CONMEBOL. Of the original MLS franchises, New York was the last to have won its first major honor, capturing the Supporters' Shield in 2013.[11]

Table correct as of October 27, 2013
Team MLS Cup Supporters' Shield U.S. Open Cup CONCACAF
Champions League
D.C. United 4 4 3 1 12
New York Red Bulls 0 1 0 0 1
Combined 4 5 3 1 13

All-time game results[edit]

      Red Bulls Win       United Win       Draw [1]

Date Venue Score Competition
May 12, 1996 Giants Stadium 1–1* MLS Regular Season
May 20, 1996 Giants Stadium 1–2 MLS Regular Season
August 21, 1996 Giants Stadium 2–3 MLS Regular Season
September 6, 1996 RFK Stadium 1–2 MLS Regular Season
September 24, 1996 Giants Stadium 3–2* MLS Cup; Conf. Semifinals, Game 1
September 27, 1996 RFK Stadium 1–0 MLS Cup; Conf. Semifinals, Game 2
October 3, 1996 RFK Stadium 2–1 MLS Cup; Conf. Semifinals, Game 3
April 5, 1997 RFK Stadium 2–1 MLS Regular Season
April 19, 1997 Giants Stadium 1–2 MLS Regular Season
July 27, 1997 Giants Stadium 2–1 MLS Regular Season
September 28, 1997 RFK Stadium 1–3 MLS Regular Season
May 9, 1998 RFK Stadium 2–0 MLS Regular Season
May 16, 1998 Giants Stadium 4–3 MLS Regular Season
August 22, 1998 RFK Stadium 2–1 MLS Regular Season
September 16, 1998 Giants Stadium 0–5 MLS Regular Season
April 3, 1999 Giants Stadium 0–1 MLS Regular Season
May 8, 1999 RFK Stadium 2–1 MLS Regular Season
August 11, 1999 Giants Stadium 1–4 MLS Regular Season
September 18, 1999 RFK Stadium 1–1* MLS Regular Season
April 1, 2000 Giants Stadium 3–2 MLS Regular Season
April 22, 2000 RFK Stadium 2–3 MLS Regular Season
June 21, 2000 Giants Stadium 2–2 MLS Regular Season
August 2, 2000 RFK Stadium 3–2 MLS Regular Season
May 5, 2001 Giants Stadium 3–2 MLS Regular Season
June 13, 2001 RFK Stadium 2–1 MLS Regular Season
July 21, 2001 Giants Stadium 2–1 MLS Regular Season
August 15, 2001 RFK Stadium 1–2 MLS Regular Season
May 18, 2002 RFK Stadium 4–2 MLS Regular Season
August 25, 2002 Giants Stadium 1–0 MLS Regular Season
September 12, 2002 Giants Stadium 0–1 MLS Regular Season
September 14, 2002 RFK Stadium 2–1 MLS Regular Season
May 10, 2003 Giants Stadium 1–0 MLS Regular Season
July 4, 2003 RFK Stadium 2–3 MLS Regular Season
September 25, 2003 Giants Stadium 0–2 MLS Regular Season
September 28, 2003 RFK Stadium 1–1 MLS Regular Season
October 1, 2003 Yurcak Field 3–2 U.S. Open Cup Semifinal
April 17, 2004 Giants Stadium 3–2 MLS Regular Season
July 3, 2004 RFK Stadium 6–2 MLS Regular Season
October 2, 2004 Giants Stadium 0–1 MLS Regular Season
October 16, 2004 RFK Stadium 3–2 MLS Regular Season
October 23, 2004 Giants Stadium 2–0 MLS Cup; Conf. Semifinals, Leg 1
October 30, 2004 RFK Stadium 2–0 MLS Cup; Conf. Semifinals, Leg 2
June 12, 2005 Giants Stadium 2–2 MLS Regular Season
August 10, 2005 RFK Stadium 3–0 MLS Regular Season
October 1, 2005 Giants Stadium 1–4 MLS Regular Season
October 8, 2005 RFK Stadium 1–2 MLS Regular Season
April 1, 2006 RFK Stadium 2–2 MLS Regular Season
April 22, 2006 Giants Stadium 1–4 MLS Regular Season
August 16, 2006 Giants Stadium 0–0 MLS Regular Season
August 23, 2006 RFK Stadium 3–1 U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinal
September 23, 2006 RFK Stadium 4–3 MLS Regular Season
October 21, 2006 Giants Stadium 0–1 MLS Cup; Conf. Semifinals, Leg 1
October 29, 2006 RFK Stadium 1–1 MLS Cup; Conf. Semifinals, Leg 2
June 10, 2007 RFK Stadium 4–2 MLS Regular Season
July 22, 2007 Giants Stadium 1–0 MLS Regular Season
August 22, 2007 RFK Stadium 3–1 MLS Regular Season
June 14, 2008 RFK Stadium 4–1 MLS Regular Season
August 10, 2008 Giants Stadium 4–1 MLS Regular Season
August 30, 2008 RFK Stadium 0–0 MLS Regular Season
April 26, 2009 Giants Stadium 2–3 MLS Regular Season
May 20, 2009 RFK Stadium 5–3 U.S. Open Cup qualifier
June 4, 2009 RFK Stadium 2–0 MLS Regular Season
May 1, 2010 RFK Stadium 0–2 MLS Regular Season
July 10, 2010 Red Bull Arena 0–0 MLS Regular Season
April 21, 2011 RFK Stadium 0–4 MLS Regular Season
July 9, 2011 Red Bull Arena 0–1 MLS Regular Season
April 22, 2012 RFK Stadium 4–1 MLS Regular Season
June 24, 2012 Red Bull Arena 3–2 MLS Regular Season
August 29, 2012 RFK Stadium 2–2 MLS Regular Season
November 3, 2012 RFK Stadium 1–1 MLS Cup; Conf. Semifinals, Leg 1
November 8, 2012 Red Bull Arena 0–1 MLS Cup; Conf. Semifinals, Leg 2
March 16, 2013 Red Bull Arena 0-0 MLS Regular Season
April 13, 2013 RFK Stadium 0-2 MLS Regular Season
August 31, 2013 Red Bull Arena 2-1 MLS Regular Season
April 12, 2014 RFK Stadium 1–0 MLS Regular Season
August 31, 2014 RFK Stadium 2–0 MLS Regular Season
September 10, 2014 Red Bull Arena 1-0 MLS Regular Season
November 2, 2014 Red Bull Arena 2-0 MLS Cup; Conf. Semifinals, Leg 1
November 8, 2014 RFK Stadium 2–1 MLS Cup; Conf. Semifinals, Leg 2


There have been a total of 71 competitive games between D.C. United and Red Bull New York. D.C. has won 39 of these outings, while New York has won 22. The remaining nine matches ended as ties.

The largest victory in the history between these sides was a 5–0 victory by United over the Red Bulls (then the MetroStars) at Giants Stadium. The match was played on September 16, 1998. The match was United's largest away victory against the Red Bulls in history. New York's largest victory came on April 21, 2011 when the Red Bulls posted a 4–0 victory over United. The largest crowd on hand to witness the Atlantic Cup was on April 17, 2004 when 72,312 witnessed New York post a 3–2 victory over D.C. United.

Competition DCU wins Draws RBNY wins DCU goals RBNY goals
Major League Soccer 32 8 20 118 87
MLS Cup Playoffs 7 2 2 15 8
U.S. Open Cup 2 0 1 10 7
Total 41 10 23 143 102

Winners by year[edit]

Year Winner Score
2015 NY Red Bulls 7:2
2014 D.C. United 3:1
2013 NY Red Bulls 4:1
2012 D.C. United 8:6
2011 NY Red Bulls 4:1
2010 NY Red Bulls 2:0
2009 D.C. United 5:2
2008 D.C. United 4:4
(goals agg. 5:5)
(away goals 1:1)
2007 D.C. United 6:3
2006 D.C. United 8:2
2005 D.C. United 7:4
2004 D.C. United 9:3
2003 D.C. United 7:4
2002 D.C. United 9:3
2001 Metrostars 6:3 ×
2000 Metrostars 7:4 ×
1999 D.C. United 10:0 ×+
1998 D.C. United 9:3 ×+
1997 NY/NJ Metrostars 6:6 ×+
(goals agg. 7:6)
1996 D.C. United 6:4 ×+

× Retroactive & unofficial
+ Points based on regulation wins (3), ties (1), shoot-out wins (1), shoot-out losses (0) & regulation losses (0)

Tiebreakers: 1) Goal differential, 2) Away Goals For, 3) Previous year winner

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Preview: New York vs. D.C. United". Retrieved July 10, 2011. 
  2. ^ Clark, Travis (July 7, 2011). "Storied DC United-New York rivalry features new twist". Retrieved July 10, 2011. 
  3. ^ Caulfield, Alex (April 18, 2011). "United ready for Atlantic Cup redemption". Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  4. ^ Giase, Frank (July 9, 2011). "Dwayne De Rosario carries D.C. United over Red Bulls, 1–0, beating former team with late goal". The Star–Ledger. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "1997 Regular Season Schedule". Retrieved January 10, 2012. 
  6. ^ Plenderleith, Ian (September 24, 2003). "DC v Metrostars Part 3: Open Cup Semi-Final Preview". Archived from the original on October 22, 2003. Retrieved January 11, 2012. 
  7. ^ In American soccer, a "major tournament" or "major honor" usually pertains to either the MLS Cup, Supporters' Shield, U.S. Open Cup or CONCACAF Champions League.
  8. ^ "From Washington, DC to New York, NY". Google Maps. 
  9. ^ de los Rios, Gabriel (August 23, 2011). "Soccer Almanac: MLS Trophy Case (infographic)". MLS. Retrieved April 23, 2012. 
  10. ^ "USA – List of Champions of US Pro Soccer League, Division I". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. December 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2012. 
  11. ^ "INFOGRAPHIC: New York vs. DC United by the numbers". MLS. June 23, 2012. Retrieved June 25, 2012.