The New York Red Bulls scored early and hung on for a 1-0 win over the New England Revolution today at Red Bull Arena, but a hamstring injury to captain Thierry Henry soured the three points taken by the home side.
The Red Bulls started very brightly, and while they controlled most of the play for the first hour of the match, they were particularly dominant in the opening half-hour. New England looked off the pace and disorganized, allowing the Red Bulls attackers to run at the Revs' backline, not closing down in midfield, and giving New York plenty of open shooting chances from distance. Henry took advantage of the visitors' early defensive troubles, taking down a long ball from Connor Lade, sprinting around Stephen McCarthy and finishing with a beautiful chip over Matt Reis to give New York the one-goal advantage.
New England didn't respond at all to the opening goal, and the Red Bulls continued to pour forward with some lovely passing moves and wide play from Dane Richards and Lade, who was moving well forward from his left-back position, Cooper struck a pair of ferocious long-range shots directly at Reis, but the Revs continued to give New York space in midfield and the attacking third. The Red Bulls were on another foray up the pitch in the twenty-third minute, with Henry making ground through the center, when the Red Bulls captain pulled up in obvious pain, clutching his right hamstring. After a few minutes' delay, he was helped off by the New York physio and Kenny Cooper, before later appearing on the Red Bulls' bench, looking downcast in a tracksuit. Reports so far have indicated that he suffered a hamstring strain and will likely be out for two to three weeks at best, meaning he'll probably miss all of New York's five games in May.
Without Henry, New York had to continue, and they did so impressively, keeping the Revs pinned back and working the ball around nicely in midfield and forward areas. New England looked slightly more threatening in the last few minutes of the first half, but aside from one great save by Ryan Meara from Sene, created few chances.
The second half started much as the first had ended, with New York keeping the ball nicely in midfield and working hard in the outside channels. They didn't create nearly as many chances as they had in the first half, and the half-time introduction of Benny Feilhaber allowed New England to gain the ascendancy in midfield. They put New York under serious pressure in the final twenty-five minutes, and the Red Bulls totally lost their shape and their link between defense, midfield, and attack. Ryan Meara made several good saves, the young New York backline played unexpectedly well, and the hosts got a few lucky bounces before the final whistle game the Red Bulls a 1-0 win and their first clean sheet of the season.
Next up for New York is a daunting trip out west to face the LA Galaxy, with a makeshift defense and without the club's leading scorer.
Selected Stats (NY-NE)
Possession: 41% - 59%
Passing Accuracy: 73% - 82%
Total Passes: 402 - 588
Corners: 7 -5
Open Play Crosses: 9 - 11
Fouls: 15 - 9
Shots (On Goal): 13(6) - 12(5)