Red Bulls earn 2-2 road tie in playoff opener at Houston

New York allows two second-half goals but will host second leg Wednesday night

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Photo Credit: 
Thomas B. Shea

HOUSTON, TX (November 3, 2013) -- First-half goals from Tim Cahill and Eric Alexander helped the New York Red Bulls, who played more than 25 minutes down a man, to a 2-2 road tie against the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium in the teams’ first leg of their Eastern Conference semifinals series Sunday afternoon.

New York, now unbeaten in nine matches (6-0-3), will host the decisive second leg on Wednesday, Nov. 6, at 8:00 PM at Red Bull Arena. MLS Cup Playoff tickets for Red Bulls home matches are on sale now by calling 1.877.RBSOCCER or by clicking below:

In the conference semifinals, the team that scores the most goals in the two legs advances to the Eastern Conference final to take on the winner of the Sporting Kansas City-New England Revolution series (New England currently leads 2-1 on aggregate).

The Red Bulls went ahead in the 22nd minute on Sunday afternoon. David Carney was fed the ball on the left wing and slid it down the sideline to Thierry Henry, who crossed it into the penalty area. Cahill was there at the back post to head it in for his first career postseason goal. New York then doubled their lead less than 10 minutes later. Off a swift counterattack, Cahill slipped a pass through to Alexander on the right wing. Alexander got into the box, cut the ball to his left foot, and slid it past Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall.

The Dynamo were able to pull a goal back in the 51st minute. A New York clearance fell at the top of the box to midfielder Ricardo Clark, who controlled the ball and fired a shot into the back of the net to make the score 2-1.

The Red Bulls went down a man in the 65 minute when defender Jamison Olave was issued a red card for a tackle on Houston forward Omar Cummings. However, New York’s defense stayed firm until the final moments of the match, when the hosts got an equalizer in the second minute of stoppage time. A Houston corner kick was nodded on frame by Bobby Boswell. New York goalkeeper Luis Robles was able to make the initial stop, but Cummings was there to put it in from close range.

New York Red Bulls 2, Houston Dynamo 2
November 3, 2013 – BBVA Compass Stadium – Houston, TX
Eastern Conference Semifinals -- Game 1

Scoring Summary:
NY -- Tim Cahill 1 (Thierry Henry 1) 22
NY -- Eric Alexander 1 (Tim Cahill 1, Dax McCarty 1) 32
HOU -- Ricardo Clark 1 (unassisted) 51
HOU -- Omar Cummings 1 (unassisted) 92+

Disciplinary Summary:
NY -- Jonny Steele (caution) 36
NY -- Thierry Henry (caution) 54
HOU -- Boniek Garcia (caution) 62
NY -- Jamison Olave (ejection) 65
NY -- David Carney (caution) 84
NY -- Brandon Barklage (caution) 84

New York Red Bulls – Luis Robles, Markus Holgersson, Ibrahim Sekagya, Jamison Olave, David Carney, Eric Alexander (Bradley Wright-Phillips 82), Dax McCarty, Péguy Luyindula (Lloyd Sam 73), Jonny Steele (Brandon Barklage 68), Tim Cahill, Thierry Henry.
Substitutes Not Used: Ryan Meara, Matt Miazga, Kosuke Kimura, Fabian Espindola.

Houston Dynamo – Tally Hall, Kofi Sarkodie, Bobby Boswell, Eric Brunner (Cam Weaver 85), Corey Ashe, Boniek Garcia, Warren Creavalle (Andrew Driver 70), Ricardo Clark, Brad Davis, Giles Barnes (Omar Cummings 61), Will Bruin.
Substitutes Not Used: Tyler Deric, Mike Chabala, Servando Carrasco, Alexander López

Referee: Ricardo Salazar
Referee’s Assistants: Ian Anderson; Corey Parker
4th Referee: Jose Carlos Rivero
Attendance: 20,626