HOUSTON – The New York Red Bulls turned a big second half into a huge victory, scoring three times after the break to notch a 4-1 victory at BBVA Compass Stadium and jump to the top of the Eastern Conference standings.
After going into the locker room tied at 1-1, New York got goals from Thierry Henry, Jonny Steele and Lloyd Sam, besting a Dynamo team that remains on the outside of the playoff picture with 37 points. New York improves to 45 points, even with Sporting Kansas City for top spot in the East, and move closer to securing a high seed in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
Eric Alexander got the day started with a dazzling opening goal, playing a sharp give-and-go with Steele to draw first blood in the 14th minute. Alexander started the play down the middle, playing a wall-pass off Steele and curling a shot from 20-yards out which beat Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall, who was off his line.
Houston responded in-kind four minutes later with a pair of firsts from Jason Johnson and Alexander Lopez to draw level at 1-1. Lopez, making his first MLS start since signing August 30, lofted a perfect pass into the path of the streaking Johnson. The rookie from Virginia Commonwealth University took a touch before pushing his shot past goalkeeper Luis Robles for his first MLS goal and Houston’s momentary equalizer.
But early in the second half, Henry delivered a blow to Houston's comeback hopes, splitting the Dynamo's defense and giving New York a lead again. The Frenchman collected a ball from Bradley Wright-Phillips and, after a missed tackle by Houston defensive midfielder Adam Moffat, walked into the box and finished past Hall to give New York a 2-1 lead.
The Red Bulls stuck the dagger in in the 59th minute when Steele beat the offside trap and broke in on goal to make it 3-1. Wright-Phillips put a ball over the top and Steele beat the Dynamo back line, rounded Hall and calmly finished for the Red Bulls’ third.
With the Dynamo pushing forward, Sam found a fourth goal for the visitors as the Red Bulls dissected Houston's back line with sharp passing. The four New York goals marks the most goals the Dynamo have conceded at BBVA Compass Stadium.
To punctuate Houston’s rough day, head coach Dominic Kinnear was ejected by referee Chris Penso after disputing a hard collision between RBNY defender Markus Holgersson and Dynamo second half substitute Brian Ownby. He will miss Houston’s next game, a trip to the Philadelphia Union, who are fourth in the East.
Houston, which switched to a 4-3-3 for the match, was depleted, playing without internationals Brad Davis, Boniek Garcia and Jermaine Taylor and injury causalities Andrew Driver, Eric Brunner and Corey Ashe. The shift pushed Will Bruin to midfield, but the changes did not prove fruitful.
New York played without a star of its own, missing Tim Cahill due to injury, but was able to overcome the loss and pull out the stunning victory.
While Houston travels to Philadelphia next week, New York will take a week off before hosting FC Dallas on September 22.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Jonny Steele||Plays a key role in ruthless performance by RBNY attack, showing up in right place at right time. Scores a goal, provides an assist and gifts us a memorable celebration.|
|2||Jamison Olave||Houston threw six attacking players at NY, but they didn't count on Olave making plays all over the field. Played on the edge: aggressive enough without receiving a card.|
|3||Luis Robles||Made a key save on Will Bruin in the 28th minute which kept the match at 1-1 and proved the turning point in the match. When he makes the big save, RBNY pull out big results.|