The New York Red Bulls held onto the last MLS play-off spot with its 1-1 draw at Toronto’s BMO Field on Saturday night, thanks to Thierry Henry’s 88th minute goal.
Henry scored his team-leading 13th goal of the season off a Dax Mc Carty corner kick to salvage the tie for the Red Bulls (8-7-16, 40pts.), which allowed the visitors to hold on to the last wild card playoff spot.
After a scoreless first half, Danny Koevermans scored in the 50th minute off an assist from Jamaican international Ryan Johnson, who penetrated deep into the Red Bulls defense and passed to Koevermans on the left side of the penalty box. As the final minutes ticked off the clock and a loss seemed inevitable, holding on to the playoff spot looked bleak, but the former French international Henry made use of a half a chance; he latched onto a bouncing ball in front of the goal after Mc Carty swung in a corner kick and Henry made sure that he connected on a left-footed shot to preserve the Red Bulls’ playoff spot.
Also on Saturday night, Eastern Conference leader Sporting Kansas City (11-9-12, 45 pts.) maintained its top spot when Teal Bunbury scored near the end to secure a 1-1 draw versus the San Jose Earthquakes (6-11-14). Chris Wondolowski managed a goal in the 85th minute, his 12th on the season, to break a near game-long stalemate to put San Jose ahead, 1-0; but it wasn’t long before Bunbury got the equalizer in the 86th minute for the draw. Both Toronto and San Jose are mathematically eliminated from the MLS playoffs.
In Los Angeles, the Galaxy (18-3-10), the only undefeated team at home in MLS this season, kept that record and its Western Conference lead in tact with a 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake (15-10-6). The Galaxy also pretty much has the Supporter’s Shield award wrapped up; the Supporter’s Shield goes to the MLS team with the best regular season record.
Real Salt forged ahead in the 45th minute when Fabian Espindola scored his 10th goal of the season from a header off a Javier Morales corner kick, but Los Angeles tied the game in the 59th minute when Chad Barrett scored from a David Beckham assist, his league-leading 15th.
A Beckham free kick in the 72nd minute led to the own-goal that was the winner for the Galaxy. It came off a Beckham that was headed on by Landon Donovan to Mike Magee in the goal area, whose shot deflected off defender Chris Wingert and Nat Borchers. In other MLS games last weekend, Houston and Chicago played to a 1-1 tie; Seattle topped New England, 2-1; Colorado beat FC Dallas, 1-0.
World Cup qualifying in the CONCACAF region continues on Friday, Oct. 7 when St. Vincent and the Grenadines hosts Guatemala; Dominican Republic hosts El Salvador; Barbados entertains Guyana; U.S. Virgin Islands hosts Haiti; Grenada travels to Belize; Canada plays at St. Lucia; Dominica hosts Panama; Barbados entertains Trinidad and Tobago; St. Kitts and Nevis travels to Puerto Rico; Curacao hosts Antigua and Barbuda; and Suriname plays in Cayman Islands.