HARRISON, N.J. – The Thierry Henry Show returned on Saturday night.
The Frenchman scored twice, including on an "olimpico" goal in second-half stoppage time, and assisted on Dax McCarty’s winner to help the Red Bulls erase an early deficit and propel them to a 3-1 win over the Columbus Crew in front of a crowd of 17,134 at Red Bull Arena.
The win kept New York undefeated at home this season (10-0-3) and puts them two points away from East leaders Sporting Kansas City with a head-to-head match-up looming in midweek.
Columbus, who saw DP Federico Higuaín play just a handful of minutes in stoppage time off the bench, blew an opportunity to solidify a postseason spot and suffered their second consecutive league loss.
The Crew got off to a dream start inside of the Red Bulls’ fortress, as forward Jairo Arrieta beat New York rookie Connor Lade on the left flank before delivering a low cross that Milovan Mirosevic tapped home.
New York did not wait long to respond, equalizing six minutes later through Henry. Rafa Márquez, making his first start since July 15, hit a perfect diagonal ball from just inside his own half to a streaking Henry, who trapped the ball smoothly before calmly placing a low shot into the back of the net.
The two sides exchanged a number of opportunities after Henry’s goal in what was a wide open first half, but neither team was able to take a lead before the intermission despite some quality looks on goal.
The second half was more of the same and McCarty came close to putting New York ahead in the 59th minute when he hit a bending shot with the outside part of his right foot that Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum had to go full stretch to save.
Gruenebaum was not able to deny McCarty 20 minutes later, however. After Henry had seen a shot tipped off the crossbar by Gruenebaum, the Red Bulls captain whipped in a corner kick that McCarty headed home perfectly for the gamewinner in the 79th minute. Gruenebaum struck his face against the left post on the play, resulting in nine minutes of stoppage time after a lengthy delay for treatment.
The Crew No. 1 was forced to leave the match and make room for backup Matt Lampson, who gave up an AT&T Goal of the Week candidate as Henry curled in a goal directly off a corner kick in the 93rd minute to seal the three points.
Both teams will be back in action on short rest. The Red Bulls, who are now undefeated in five, take on Eastern Conference-leading Sporting Kansas City at Red Bull Arena on Wednesday, Sept. 19, in a first-place showdown, while the Crew host Chivas USA that same day.
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at Franco8813@gmail.com.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Thierry Henry||All the Red Bulls needs are flashes of class from the Frenchman. Two world-class goals show why he will be a difference-maker down the stretch run as NY make push for the Supporters' Shield.|
|2||Andy Gruenebaum||Despite the final result, the Hebrew Hammer made three spectacular saves to keep Columbus in the match. Not to mention surviving a face-to-face encounter with the goal post.|
|3||Dax McCarty||A game-winner on a corner kick header by the 5-foot-9 dynamo tells you how things were going for the Ginger Ninja on this night. He was inspired, creating more from that right side than NY is used to seeing this year.|