HOUSTON – The New York Red Bulls sealed their 2013 dominance over the Houston Dynamo Sunday afternoon, winning their third of the year over the Texas club with a lopsided 3-0 scoreline while taking a step towards the first-ever Supporters’ Shield.
The drubbing at BBVA Compass Stadium was one of precision on the part of New York and missed opportunities for Houston, whose attack never got on track. In the process, New York reclaimed their spot at the top of the Shield race.
New York went up 1-0 faster than any other team in history. Off the opening kick, Dax McCarty lobbed a ball over the top to Tim Cahill, who brought it down and laced a shot past a stunned Tally Hall for the lead. The eighth-second goal is the fastest in MLS history, besting former Dwayne De Rosario by three seconds.
Stunned and chasing the game, Houston worked their way into a rhythm to gain a foothold on possession. However, the quality build up needed against a comfortable New York squad was sparse – especially with the Red Bulls pushing hard for a second, forcing Hall to parry aside a good, early Eric Alexander look after sumptuous Thierry Henry through-ball.
Houston’s best chance of the first half came in the 33rd minute when Ricardo Clark’s flick off a Brad Davis corner found Will Bruin in front of goal. But New York’s Luis Robles dropped to deflect the shot and nothing came of the rebound.
New York delivered the dagger in the 65th minute, punishing Houston’s failure to clear a corner kick. Henry’s corner pinged around the area until Ibrahim Sekagya headed past the stranded Hall to give the Red Bulls a 2-0 lead.
Ten minutes later second-half substitute Bradley Wright-Phillips sealed the deal with some help from yet another failed clearance. Jermaine Taylor’s attempted blast into safety bounced off the head of an unsuspecting Corey Ashe and back into the 18, giving Wright-Phillips a simple tap-in for the final score.
The Dynamo whiffed on several chances at a consolation goal, with Robles spectacularly tipping an Boniek García drive high, and both Bruin and Omar Cummings contriving to miss the net entirely from inside the six.
The loss keeps Houston on 48 points and in sixth place in the East. Because of tiebreakers (total wins, total goals scored), if the Dynamo are to make the playoffs they will most likely need a win at D.C. United next Sunday, as well as one of the three teams directly ahead of them – New England, Chicago and Montreal – to drop points.
For New York, on 56 points, the arithmetic is simple: win next Sunday at home against the Fire, and they claim the first significant hardware in team history, as well as guaranteeing home field advantage throughout the post season.
Houston Dynamo (13-11-9; 48 points) vs. New York Red Bulls (16-9-8; 56 points)
MLS regular season
October 20, 2013 – BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, TX
New York: Tim Cahill 11 (Dax McCarty 4) 1
New York: Ibrahim Sekagya 1 (Peguy Luyindula 4) 65
New York: Bradley Wright-Phillips 1 (unassisted) 75
Houston Dynamo: Tally Hall; Kofi Sarkodie, Bobby Boswell, Jermaine Taylor, Corey Ashe; Boniek Garcia, Warren Creavalle (Omar Cummings 66), Ricardo Clark, Brad Davis (Andrew Driver 84); Giles Barnes, Will Bruin (Cam Weaver 84)
Unused substitutes: Tyler Deric, Servando Carrasco, Eric Brunner, Alexander Lopez
New York Red Bulls: Luis Robles; Markus Holgersson, Jamison Olave, Ibrahim Sekagya, Brandon Barklage; Eric Alexander (Connor Lade 92+), Dax McCarty, Peguy Luyindula, Jonathan Steele (Lloyd Sam 80); Tim Cahill (Bradley Wright-Phillips 62); Thierry Henry
Unused substitutes: Ryan Meara, Kosuke Kimura, Matt Miazga, Andre Akpan
New York: Thierry Henry (caution) 87
Referee: Hilario Grajeda
Referees’ Assistants: Paul Scott, Kevin Klinger
4th Official: Ted Unkel