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A Capital Problem For Red Bulls?

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No, not the Wilpon kind. The Red Bulls started their season on a positive not Saturday, defeating Seattle 1-0 in the opener for New York. But a bit to the south, D.C. United served notice that it will not be the pushover it was last year, winning just six times.

It isn't simple that D.C. United defeated a strong Columbus Crew team, 3-1. It was the way the team did it.

Perry Kitchen, the third overall pick in this year's MLS draft, provided stout defense. Andy Najar, last season's bright spot, continued to shine. Striker Josh Wolff is healthy, and dominated play for much of the contest while adding a goal. But the scariest of all for New York had to be the play of Charlie Davies.

Davies, remember, was the speed demon set to pair with former Red Bull Jozy Altidore up top for the United States national team. However, he was badly injured in an automobile accident, and there were questions as to whether he'd ever play again, let alone at an elite level.

On loan from Ligue 1 side Sochaux, Davies entered in the 52nd minute. His speed was apparent, and his penalty shot true. A few minutes later, he tallied a second goal in the run of play. It was a best-case scenario for Davies, for all those rooting for him, and regardless of one's allegiance to the Red Bulls, it is an indisputably happy story.

But while it is too soon to assume that Davies will dominate, keep in mind that Saturday night's performance is one more dominant entry than Thierry Henry has provided to date. If Davies is close to the player he was, D.C. United could become the primary challenger to New York in the Eastern Conference, given their other improvements.

A Davies-led D.C. United title run and restoration to the national team would be the domestic soccer story of the year. But it would run afoul of New York's plans to final capture their first MLS Cup. And if you don't think a team can go from six wins to the top of the Eastern Conference, remember the team that did it last year after winning five times the season before: the New York Red Bulls.