FRISCO, Texas- The New York Red Bulls picked up valuable points towards their playoff campaign Saturday evening, defeating slumping FC Dallas 1-0 at Pizza Hut Park and to take over the 10th and final playoff position.
Luke Rodgers scored the game’s lone tally in the 36th minute when Juan Agudelo fed him a low-lining cross that he one-timed past goalkeeper Kevin Hartman. The win was the club’s first in league play since July 6 and just the second in 14 games on the road this season.
The Red Bulls (7-6-15) leapfrogged both D.C. United and the Portland Timbers into the final playoff spot with the win.
The loss was the latest in a string of tough league results for FC Dallas (13-9-7), who watched their scoreless streak reach 180 minutes and now have just four points in their last five league matches. They played without both Brek Shea and Marvin Chavez due to yellow card accumulation.
The game-winner marked the first goal for Rodgers first since July 6 after being sidelined with a plantar fasciitis injury. It also eased Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe’s worries after he was forced to leave leading goal scorer Thierry Henry in New York with a lingering Achilles injury.
The Red Bulls pulled off the win despite missing Roy Miller, Rafa Márquez, and Jan Gunnar Solli with yellow card accumulations and injuries, and despite giving up most of the action in the first half.
FC Dallas began the match on the offensive and forward Maicon Santos had an opportunity alone with finally healthy New York goalkeeper Frank Rost in the 14th minute, but his 10-yard flick just cleared the crossbar.
The home side dominated the opening 45 minutes of play registering 12 shots to New York’s five, and Santos also hit the post. Santos managed eight opportunities on goal for FC Dallas, but the veteran Brazilian could not find the necessary goal.
That moment belonged to Rodgers, who calmly put away a point-blank shot after Agudelo streaked down the right side and drifted a picture-perfect pass into the box for his second assist of the season.
Joel Lindpere almost doubled his team’s lead in the 64th minute when Dax McCarty found him along the left flank and the Estonian international forced Ugo Ihemelu to the ground. But the resulting shot sailed over the crossbar.
A late assault from FC Dallas with Maykel Galindo, Fabian Castillo, and Santos saw more opportunities, but New York defenders Tim Ream and Stephen Keel did well to block their shots and cut out passing lanes in the attack.
FC Dallas next play in-state rival the Houston Dynamo on Sept. 24 at Pizza Hut Park, while the New York Red Bulls return to Red Bull Arena for a match against Real Salt Lake on Wednesday.
NY -- Luke Rodgers 7 (Juan Agudelo 2, Stephen Keel 2) 36
New York Red Bulls -- Frank Rost, Carlos Mendes, Stephen Keel, Tim Ream, Chris Albright, Joel Lindpere, Dax McCarty (Stephane Auvray 89), Teemu Tainio, Dane Richards, Juan Agudelo, Luke Rodgers (Mehdi Ballouchy 46).
Substitutes Not Used: Corey Hertzog, Matt Kassel, Brian Nielsen, John Rooney, Bouna Coundoul.
FC Dallas -- Kevin Hartman, Zach Loyd (Bobby Warshaw 81), Ugo Ihemelu, George John, Jair Benitez, Jackson, Daniel Cruz (Fabian Castillo 53), Daniel Hernandez, Andrew Jacobson (Maykel Galindo 65), Ricardo Villar, Maicon Santos.
Substitutes Not Used: Jeremy Hall, Ruben Luna, Jack Stewart, Chris Seitz.
NY -- Dane Richards (caution; Tactical Foul) 70
NY -- Joel Lindpere (caution; Tactical Foul) 75
NY -- Mehdi Ballouchy (caution; Reckless Tackle) 85
Referee: Jair Marrufo
Referee's Assistants: -C.J. Morgante; Corey Rockwell
4th Official: Abiodun Okulaja
Time of Game: 1:50
Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-86-degrees