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Eastern Conference Championship

New York Red Bulls 4, Montreal Impact 2 | MLS Match Recap

HARRISON, N.J. – It took the New York Red Bulls a little longer than they would have liked, but their offense exploded and they picked up three points that kept them above the red line in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

Thierry Henry and Bradley Wright-Phillips scored second-half braces that helped New York erase a one-goal deficit in a 4-2 victory over the Montreal Impact on Saturday night. The match at Red Bull Arena saw Wright-Phillips break the Red Bulls’ record for most goals in a season with 20, bettering Juan Pablo Angel’s 19-goal haul from 2007, but it was Henry who sparked the comeback by scoring twice in a span of 14 minutes.

Looking nothing like a team that played on Wednesday, the Impact came out looking energetic in the first half before falling apart in the second stanza.

Dilly Duka, a New Jersey native, opened the scoring with a 37th-minute strike to the near post that stunned the 17,891 fans in attendance. Duka took advantage of the space allowed to him by Chris Duvall and beat Luis Robles low to the near post after a perfect, defense-splitting ball into space from Calum Mallace.

Henry then turned things up a notch in the closing 45 minutes to jumpstart the Red Bulls’ second straight comeback at home. New York's captain, who celebrated his 37th birthday last weekend, dove to head a cross from Eric Alexander just inside the far post in the 53rd minute and then put his team ahead in the 67th by firing a perfect shot that kissed the right post and went in.

Henry turned from scorer to provider, assisting on Wright-Phillips’ 19th goal of the season in the 74th minute. Montreal made it close again five minutes later with a stunning individual effort from Andres Romero, but Wright-Phillips put the match away with his second of the night in the 90th, slotting home a pass from Peguy Luyindula.

The result pushed Mike Petke’s side back to .500 at 7-7-10, keeping them in fifth place in the East. The struggling Impact dropped to 4-15-5, dead last in the conference and the league.

The Red Bulls now face a short turnaround, hosting their CONCACAF Champions League opener against CD FAS on Tuesday before traveling to take on rivals D.C. United next Sunday. The Impact, meanwhile, host the Columbus Crew at Stade Saputo on Saturday.

MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match

Rank Player What We Saw
1 Thierry Henry Did everything - diving header, back-post finish, slotted through ball - and often dropped deep to run the whole damn show.
2 Dax McCarty Was everywhere defensively covering for his gappy midfield teammates, and did a ton of work setting the tempo in possession.
3 Bradley Wright-Phillips Didn't do much other than score a couple of goals. Not bad, right? He's the league's best poacher and most reliable finisher.