The New York Red Bulls’ winless run is over, but the Houston Dynamo’s continues.
The Red Bulls picked up their first victory in more than a month on Sunday afternoon, defeating an undermanned Houston Dynamo side 2-0 in front of an announced sellout crowd at Red Bull Arena. Both goals came in the second half, with Fabián Espíndola netting the winner and Johnny Steele providing late insurance with a beautiful finish.
For New York, the triumph is their first in league play since a May 19 win over the LA Galaxy and gives them sole possession of second place in the Eastern Conference. Houston, meanwhile, remain without a victory for the seventh straight league match. They were without the services of offensive drivers Brad Davis and Boniek García, out with injuries.
Both teams began the match with plenty of energy, going back and forth in an open first 10 minutes before things eventually settled in the Red Bulls’ favor.
New York began bossing possession after the enthusiastic start but, like Houston, had to settle for half-chances. Thierry Henry failed to find the target on a pair of first-half shots, and the Dynamo, content to sit back and hit on the counter, never came close to troubling Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles.
The two sides exchanged chances early in the second half but neither capitalized on their opportunity. Giles Barnes hit a shot from a difficult angle across the face of goal instead of at it in the 48th minute, and Henry missed on a clean breakaway a minute later.
The breakthrough finally came at the hour mark. Allowed time and space, Alexander hit a great ball in from the right flank that Espíndola raced onto with a well-timed run before tucking a shot underneath Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall. It was the Argentine striker's first goal in nine games.
Henry collected a pass in the middle of the field and laid it off Steele on the left side of the penalty area. Unmarked, Steele calmly trapped the ball before unleashing a venomous shot that soared into the far top corner.
New York face a quick turnaround leading into their next game, a July 4 encounter with the Colorado Rapids at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
Houston, meanwhile, next host the Philadelphia Union on July 6.
New York Red Bulls (8-6-4; 28 points) vs. Houston Dynamo (6-6-5; 23 points)
MLS regular season
June 30, 2013 – Red Bull Arena, Harrison, NJ
Attendance: 25,483 (sellout)
New York: Fabian Espindola 4 (Eric Alexander 2) 60
New York: Jonny Steele 2 (Thierry Henry 2) 88
Houston Dynamo: Tally Hall, Kofi Sarkodie, Bobby Boswell, Jermaine Taylor, Corey Ashe, Warren Creavalle (Omar Cummings 65), Ricardo Clark, Adam Moffat (Alex Dixon 78), Andrew Driver; Will Bruin, Giles Barnes (Brian Ching 78)
Substitutes not used: Tyler Deric, Cam Weaver, Eric Brunner, Mike Chabala
New York Red Bulls: Luis Robles, Brandon Barklage, Jamison Olave, Markus Holgersson, Connor Lade; Eric Alexander (Kosuke Kimura 81), Dax McCarty, Tim Cahill, Jonny Steele (Ruben Bover 90), Fabian Espindola (Peguy Luyindula 78), Thierry Henry
Substitutes Not Used: Ryan Meara, Matt Miazga, Andre Akpan, Juninho
HOU: Kofi Sarkodie (caution) 45+
NY: Markus Holgersson (caution) 58
Referee: Hilario Grajeda
Referee's Assistants: Bill Dittmar, Brian Poeschel
4th Official: Kevin Terry Jr.