HARRISON, N.J. – The New York Red Bulls started their match against rivals D.C. United with Thierry Henry on the bench, were reduced to 10 men in the 72nd minute and gave up a potentially game-tying penalty kick on the same play.
They still managed to win.
The Red Bulls defeated United 2-1 in a wild affair at Red Bull Arena to end a three-game winless skid on Saturday night. Tim Cahill scored the winner in the first half shortly after Nick DeLeon had netted an equalizer in response to Lloyd Sam's opener, and Luis Robles came up big to deny Dwayne De Rosario on what could have been an equalizing spot kick in the 73rd minute.
The result improves the Red Bulls to 12-9-6 and brings them level on points with the Montreal Impact atop the Eastern Conference. United, meanwhile, remain winless on the road this season and fall to a league-worst 3-18-5.
Making his first start at Red Bull Arena this season, Sam got the proceedings started with an impressive eighth-minute opener. The Englishman hit what looked to be a cross from the right side that floated over United goalkeeper Bill Hamid and clanked off the far post before completely crossing the goal line despite Hamid's desperate efforts.
United missed an opportunity to pull level in the 27th minute when Lewis Neal, making his first start in months, fired wide of goal despite being unmarked. But the visitors eventually tied the game through a well-taken strike by DeLeon nine minutes later.
De Rosario hit a cross-field pass to DeLeon that the second-year midfielder brought down well before cutting past Red Bulls debutant David Carney. DeLeon then proceeded to smash a shot to the near post past a helpless Luis Robles.
The visitors’ joy was short-lived, however, as New York jumped back on top two minutes later. Jonny Steele delivered a peach of a cross from the left flank after putting a move on D.C. right back Chris Korb, and Tim Cahill met the ball with a patented powerful header that Hamid could do little about.
The two teams continued to exchange a flurry of chances in an entertaining second half, especially after Henry came on for an injured Cahill, but the biggest moment came in the 72nd minute.
Center back Ibrahim Sekagya was whistled for a penalty kick and subsequently shown a red card for obstructing De Rosario from getting to a ball in the penalty area. De Rosario then took the spot kick from 12 yards out but was denied by Robles, who dove low to his right to ensure that the Red Bulls came out victorious.
Both teams return to action on Sept. 8. New York will travel to BBVA Compass Stadium to take on the Houston Dynamo, while United visit Chivas USA.