HARRISON, N.J. – It wasn't a victory, but the New York Red Bulls will take this point happily.
Chivas USA were on the brink of taking a road win home with them on Sunday afternoon, but Péguy Luyindula came to the rescue with a headed goal on the final play of the game deep into stoppage time to earn the Red Bulls a 1-1 draw at Red Bull Arena.
The visitors were mere seconds from a hard-fought win after Erick "Cubo" Torres' first-half penalty kick and a handful of late, highlight-reel saves from goalkeeper Dan Kennedy before Luyindula's heroics.
Although the result may have saved the Red Bulls from a loss, they are still winless on the season at 0-1-3. Chivas USA, meanwhile, move to 1-1-2.
In a sloppy first half for both teams, it was Chivas USA who struck first. In the 24th minute, Red Bulls right back Richard Eckersley was whistled for a penalty for contact in the box with Chivas rookie Tommy McNamara following a Torres cross from the right side. "Cubo" stepped up and sent his spot kick down the middle a minute later for a 1-0 lead.
The Red Bulls came out of halftime a much-improved side, beginning to use Lloyd Sam to exploit Chivas left back Tony Lochhead. Sam was quickly involved in a pair of near misses in the early stages of the second half, first feeding Bradley Wright-Phillips for a golden shot in front of goal that the substitute forward scuffed wide in the 52nd minute and then firing one agonizingly wide himself.
Wright-Phillips also missed two chances just seconds apart in 73rd minute. The veteran forward shot a foot wide of the far post on chance just outside of the penalty area and then saw Kennedy stone him on a clean breakaway.
New York continued to knock on the door as the minutes ticked away. Thierry Henry headed wide in the 77th before flicking another shot that bounced wide a minute later, and Kennedy also came up big to paw away a venomous Dax McCarty half-volley in the 82nd minute.
But Kennedy couldn't do anything on the game’s final play. Five minutes into stoppage time, Substitute midfielder Eric Alexander whipped in a corner from the left that Luyindula tracked well before snapping it home for an equalizing goal that send New York fans into a frenzy and saved the club from its second defeat of the season.
New York lost both Tim Cahill and Eckersley to injuries as both players were forced off in the first half.
The Red Bulls will continue the search for their first win of their season with a visit to Montreal on April 5 while Chivas USA face the LA Galaxy a day later in the first SuperClasico meeting of the season at StubHub Center.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Dan Kennedy||Literally did everything he could to preserve a victory – but was left powerless on Luyindula's equalizer.|
|2||Lloyd Sam||At many points in the game, was the only thing New York had going for them. Tremendous play on wing.|
|3||Péguy Luyindula||Wasn't spectacular in first start in three games, but you're gonna make an impact, do it this way.|