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Ghana’s Lloyd Sam remains calm ahead of DC United-Red Bulls clash


Ghanaian winger Lloyd Sam may be bracing up for one of the most important games in his career as his new club DC United invites his former club New York Red Bulls to the RFK Stadium in the 25th week fixtures of the Major League Soccer (MLS).

Sam who described Sunday’s clash as a ‘normal but strange game in his life’ says he’s remained calm ahead of the Atlantic Cup rivalry.

“I am approaching it as a normal game, even though it is a strange game for me – you know I have played for the New York Red Bulls in my entire MLS career and now I have to play against them.

“But is all about the three points”, Sam told Ghana Soccer US (www.ghsoccerus.net)

Few days after completing a move from New York to DC, Sam said his first game against the Red Bulls will be huge.

“These are huge games,” said Sam of the rivalry between United and the Red Bulls. “I feel like after that kind of trade, it’s probably not just a huge game for me. It’s a huge game for their management for sure…[it] should be a fun one.”

These were Lloyd Sam’s comments immediately after his move but the Ghanaian winger has backed down a bit in order to reduce the tension and pressure.

“When I moved, emotions were quite high but I have settled in well with my current team and for me, it is all about helping my team get the desired result.

“I am not really under pressure because I have nothing to prove. The most important thing is for us to win the game as a team”, Sam intimated.

Interestingly, Sam made his MLS debut at the RFK on August 29, 2012, and when Sam played his first game for Ghana, it was at the same RFK Stadium in October 2015. Sunday’s game will be the first game Sam will play for his new club against his former club and he is doing that at the RFK. So how does Sam feels about playing at the RFK?

“RFK is very special to me. I did not only play my first MLS game there but my first game for Ghana was also at the RFK so it is a special venue for me”.

According to the official website of DC United, Sam currently leads DC in key passes (32) and open play crosses (75) and has made a strong case to the coaching staff for a permanent spot in the starting eleven.

“He’s a guy that understands when to go and attack,” said United head coach Ben Olsen of Sam’s contribution to the team. “He’s got a final ball. He’s one of the best guys in the league in getting crosses off and connecting with forwards. He can score. He understands his role defensively. He’s a two-way player. [Lloyd’s] everything we want in that position.”

Sam scored five goals against DC during his stint with New York, including a 90th-minute game-tying goal that salvaged a draw for the Red Bulls last season at RFK Stadium. And now, he will be hoping to score against his former club on Sunday.

As he put it: “We will have to start picking maximum points at home so we can make the playoffs”.

With 27 points, DC United occupy the last playoff position in the Eastern Conference and will be hoping not to slip down the league ladder while New York Red Bulls are currently third with 36 points.
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