HARRISON, N.J. – The Montreal Impact may be the ones at the top of the table in the Eastern Conference, but it was the New York Red Bulls who looked like a first-place team on Saturday.
The Red Bulls put forth arguably their most dominant performance of the season en route to routing the Impact, 4-0, at Red Bull Arena on Saturday night. Eric Alexander and Thierry Henry set the tone for the win with goals in the first 16 minutes, and Tim Cahill and Peguy Luyindula added tallies in the second half.
The result improved the hosts to 9-7-4 on the year and moved them back into second place in the East while dropping the Impact to 9-5-4. It also saw New York win the season series against Montreal, 2-1.
Alexander gave the Red Bulls a dream start as he buried his second of the season in the eighth minute, making a dribbling run past three defenders before slotting a low shot past Impact goalkeeper Troy Perkins and just inside the far corner.
Henry doubled the lead eight minutes later, tapping home a perfectly-weighted cross from Fabian Espindola. The Argentine forward was given time and space with the ball at his feet at the edge of the penalty area and chipped the ball to a streaking Henry, who scored easily just feet away from the goal.
New York continued their dominance over the flat Impact in the second half, and Cahill got himself on the scoresheet in the 63rd minute. Cahill latched onto a Henry corner kick and nodded it home with a diving effort right in front of the Red Bulls supporters groups, who earlier in the half continued the use of the controversial “YSA” chant.
Luyindula compounded Montreal’s misery with a penalty kick in the 88th minute. After fellow substitute Lloyd Sam had been brought down by Jeb Brovsky in the 18-yard box, Luyindula fired a shot low and to the right to open his MLS scoring account.
The Impact rarely tested New York’s defense and could have been further embarrassed if not for two Red Bulls shots hitting the crossbar. Montreal came close to making things interesting in the 58th minute, but a headed goal from Marco Di Vaio was whistled back for offside.
The Red Bulls return to action on Tuesday, as they host Olympique Lyon in a friendly before visiting Toronto FC on Saturday. The Impact host FC Dallas next Saturday.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Eric Alexander||Probably the best night of his RBNY career. Alexander set the tone with a twinkle-toed opening strike and looked dangerous throughout.|
|2||Thierry Henry||The DP was sterling, scoring one strike and helping create two others -- and his leadership skills were on display as well.|
|3||Jamison Olave||Not too many MLS defenders shut down Marco Di Vaio as effectively as the big Colombian did tonight. Smart, smooth and sturdy.|
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached by email at Franco8813@gmail.com.