The New York Red Bulls (15-9-6, 51 pts.) came away with a 1-0 victory over FC Dallas on Sunday afternoon at Red Bull Arena to maintain its position atop the MLS Eastern Conference standings. The home team took the field knowing that Sporting Kansas City (15-9-6, 51 pts.) had replace it at the top of the Conference standings after defeating Toronto FC, 2-1, the day before. New York’s better goal difference gives it the edge over Kansas City.
The win didn’t seem in the cards for the Red Bulls from the outset. The urgency that was demanded of the situation by the home team, considering final team standings has a significant impact on the playoffs seeding, was lacking in the first half. The Red Bulls created very few chances in the first period, with its best opportunity coming a minute before the period ended when Thierry Henry received a pass from Fabian Espindola and had a clear look at the goal from 18 yards, but sent his shot high above the crossbar.
Dallas FC (10-8-10, 40pts.) also had much weighing on the game. The visitors – struggling at the bottom of the Western Conference, with only Chivas USA below it and out of the playoffs – desperately needed a win to insure a play-off berth. Again, like New York, Dallas needed a spark.
The second half was upon them and both teams seemed to have been reminded of their situations. Henry’s header off an Espindola cross in the 63rd minute just missed the right upright post; while at the other end, less than a minute later, David Ferreira’s dangerous header was deflected away from the Red Bulls goal. The Red Bulls lucked out and took the 1-0 lead in the 67th minute when right fullback Kosuke Kimura overlapped and sent a high cross to the left side, where Jonathan Steele just steered the ball back toward the middle of the goal; unfortunately for Dallas, defender Eric knocked the ball into his net in an attempted clearance.
A minute later, Eric Alexander went on a fast break run from midfield and found himself in a one-versus-one situation with Dallas goalkeeper Raul Fernandez, who made an excellent save, diving to his left, to prevent the Red Bulls from extending its lead. The win was the Red Bulls’ fourth straight, as New York heads to Seattle for a rare matchup with the Western Conference leader in a nationally televised game on Sunday night, Sept. 29, at 9:00 p.m. EDT.
In other MLS games last weekend, Vancouver topped Montreal, 3-0; Columbus knocked off Chicago by the same score; New England beat DC United, 2-1; Houston clobbered Chivas USA, 5-1; San Jose got a win over Real Salt Lake, 2-1; and Los Angeles Galaxy and the Seattle Sounders played to a 1-1
CFU WOMEN UNDER-17S
Qualifying among CFU (Caribbean Football Union) teams for the 2014 FIFA Women’s Under-17 World Cup to be held in Costa Rica started with Group A play in Haiti last Saturday. Haiti got hat tricks from Batcheba Louis and Isnada Lebrun to defeat Antigua and Barbuda, 6-0, to kick off its group play and is tied in first in the group with Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico defeated U. S. Virgin Islands, 7-0, behind hat trick by Fabiola Miranda to also win its first Group A match. Goals also came from Captain Marjorie Martinez and Adriana Tirad. Haiti next plays U. S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico takes on Antigua and Barbuda.
In other qualifying match, also in Haiti, the Trinidad and Tobago Under-17 women defeated its Grenadian counterparts, 10-0, last Saturday. Forward Zoe Swift scored five goals in the first half to pace the Soca Princesses. Trinidad and Tobago next will meet Bermuda; Jamaica called up 24 players for its group play, which it will host starting in a week.
USA TO PLAY NEW ZEALAND
The U. S. Soccer Federation announced recently that its senior women’s nation team will play two matches against New Zealand later this year at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park on Oct. 27 and at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio on Oct. 30. The U. S. women are also scheduled to play Australia in San Antonio, Texas on Sunday, Oct. 20.