HARRISON, N.J. – Another clean sheet, another win for the New York Red Bulls. Thanks to an early goal from Kenny Cooper and another stout defensive effort defensively, the Red Bulls defeated the Houston Dynamo 1-0 at Red Bull Arena on Wednesday night.
The win was New York’s third straight victory by that scoreline and second consecutive without Thierry Henry, who is currently recovering from a hamstring injury. It also pushed the Red Bulls, now 6-3-1, ahead of rivals D.C. United and into second place in the Eastern Conference.
For Houston, the result drops them to 2-3-2 and ends their season-opening seven-game road trip to start the season. Houston are winless in their last five matches.
Playing without Rafa Márquez due to an injury the Mexican international sustained on Tuesday, the Red Bulls once again began a home game with an early strike.
Cooper knocked in his eighth of the season in the seventh minute when he raced onto a lazy back pass from Corey Ashe, and deflected the ball into the back of the net as goalkeeper Tally Hall attempted to clear.
Houston began winning more of the possession battle as they searched for an equalizer, but the visitors had trouble creating anything from the run of play, settling for mostly half-chances for much of the game against a defense that has not surrendered a goal in its last 270 minutes.
The Dynamo’s most dangerous offensive plays in the first half came on set pieces from Brad Davis, and even though Houston won a number of them, the young Red Bulls backline was able to clear the ball from danger every time.
Davis came close to equalizing for Houston from the run of play twice during the waning moments of the second half, but the former MetroStar missed the mark on a close-range header and shot from 15 yards out.
New York's Hans Backe went mostly with the same lineup that shut out the LA Galaxy last weekend, including the green back four of Conor Lade, Markus Holgerson, Tyler Ruthven and Brandon Barklage.
Both teams have short turnarounds before their next games. The Red Bulls play their third game in eight days when they take on rivals Philadelphia Union on Sunday, while the Dynamo will play in their much-anticipated home opener at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday against D.C. United.
Houston Dynamo (2-3-2) vs. New York Red Bulls (6-3-1)
May 9, 2012 – Red Bull Arena, Harrison, N.J. - Attendance: 11,315
New York – Kenny Cooper 8 (unassisted) 7
Houston Dynamo – Tally Hall; Jermaine Taylor, Bobby Boswell, Geoff Cameron, Corey Ashe; Calen Carr, Adam Moffat, Luiz Camargo, Brad Davis; Macoumba Kandji (Colin Clark 73), Cam Weaver (Will Bruin 61)
Substitutes not used: Tyler Deric, Nathan Sturgis, Je-Vaughn Watson, Andre Hainault
New York Red Bulls – Ryan Meara; Brandon Barklage, Tyler Ruthven, Markus Holgersson, Brandon Barklage, Connor Lade; Dax McCarty; Jan Gunnar Solli (Roy Miller 86), Joel Lindpere, Mehdi Ballouchy (Juan Agudelo 46); Dane Richards, Kenny Cooper (Jhonny Arteaga 91+)
Substitutes Not Used: Jeremy Vuolo, Jonathan Borrajo, Ryan Maduro, Victor Palsson
Misconduct Summary: New York – Kenny Cooper (caution) 45; Connor Lade (caution) 56, Dax McCarty (caution) 59
Referee: Sorin Stoica
Assistants: Kermit Quisenberry, Paul Scott
Fourth official: Hilario Grajeda