HARRISON, N.J. – It doesn't get much crazier than that.
After a back-and-forth match that featured four goals in the final ten minutes, the New York Red Bulls finally knocked off visiting Real Salt Lake by a 4-3 scoreline thanks to a dramatic goal at the death from Dax McCarty at Red Bull Arena.
The Red Bulls grabbed a 2-0 lead early on, but an Alvaro Saborio hat-trick saw the visitors rally and jump out in front late. New York would not give up, however, as Fabian Espindola buried his second penalty kick of the night at the end of regulation before McCarty headed home a Brandon Barklage cross in the 94th minute.
The proceedings got off to a physical start, and Tim Cahill suffered an early injury scare when Yordany Alvarez caught him with a high tackle in the fourth minute. The Australian international spent a few minutes on the ground before limping to the sideline, but ultimately toughed it out and made RSL pay seven minutes later.
In the 11th minute, Cahill lost his mark and headed home a lofted free kick from Thierry Henry that squeaked between RSL goalkeeper Jeff Attinella's legs for his sixth strike of the season.
New York doubled their lead in the 23rd minute. After Abdoulie Mansally had been whistled for a foul on Barklage in the penalty area by referee Silviu Petrescu, Espindola chipped the ensuing spot kick down the middle to score against his former club.
The Red Bulls continued to pile on the pressure and looked the more dominant side, but chances to build on the lead from Henry and Espindola were denied by the post and Attinella, respectively.
That opened the door for Real Salt Lake to pick up some momentum before halftime through a Saborio penalty kick. Markus Holgersson was whistled for bringing down Olmes Garcia in the 18-yard box in the 44th minute and Saborio, returning from international duty, converted the ensuing opportunity with a low shot.
While Saborio’s goal took some sting out of the Red Bulls at the start of the second half, the visitors were still unable to come up with any real dangerous scoring opportunities until late in the game.
Saborio was at the front of those chances and made no mistake with them. The Costa Rican forward scored his second of the game in the 80th minute, squeezing a low shot past Robles from about 15 yards out. Saborio then momentarily gave RSL the lead two minutes later, doing brilliantly to create space for himself and place a shot out of Roble's reach.
The Red Bulls refused to surrender, though, and were ultimately rewarded for their persistence. Espindola was brought down by Aaron Maund in the penalty area in the 89th minute and he converted the ensuing chance from 12 yards out, opening the door for McCarty’s late-game heroics that sent Red Bull Arena into a frenzy.
Both teams will now send players to the MLS All-Star Game in Kansas City before returning to action with road games against conference foes on the evening of Aug. 3. Real Salt Lake are set to visit the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park and the Red Bulls are scheduled to take on Sporting KC at Sporting Park.
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached by email at Franco8813@gmail.com.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Álvaro Saborío||Ended up on the losing side, but netted all three of RSL's goals, including a spectacular third|
|2||Fabián Espíndola||Came to play against his former club. Netted twice from the spot and caused plenty of problems throughout the game for the RSL defense|
|3||Thierry Henry||Didn't find the net, but had some great ideas and kept the New York offense humming throughout the match|