HARRISON, N.J. – The New York Red Bulls got the three points they needed on Saturday, and it took another strong performance from Thierry Henry to help make it happen.
Henry got the Red Bulls back to winning ways with a three-assist, one-goal outing in a 4-1 win over Toronto FC at Red Bull Arena that was closer than the score indicated. New York fell behind early, but Henry’s heroics inspired his side to a much-needed victory in front of the sold-out crowd of 25,017.
The win puts the Red Bulls one step closer to reaching the postseason, as they now sit in second place in the Eastern Conference with three matches remaining in the campaign.
Toronto FC got off to a dream start, scoring a goal in the sixth minute. Ryan Johnson blasted a shot past goalkeeper Luis Robles and into the top corner of the far post on an effort from 30 yards out. The 28-year-old 'keeper got the start - -and his MLS debut for the Red Bulls - -because of a back injury to incumbent Bill Gaudette.
Despite having conceded yet another early goal, the Red Bulls answered back seven minutes later. Markus Holgersson headed home an Henry corner to pull New York level and negate the momentum Toronto had gained from Johnson’s excellent finish.
The match continued to go back and forth, and it was New York that took the lead prior to halftime. Wilman Conde played a long ball over the top that was nodded down by Henry to Lloyd Sam, who was making his first MLS start. Sam then played a quality through ball behind Toronto FC’s defense to Henry, and the Red Bulls captain slipped it to Cooper for the easy finish in front of an open goal in the 27th minute.
The second half saw more of the same from both sides, but neither team was able to find the back of the net until Henry delivered his 12th assist of the season to Cooper in the game’s 88th minute. Henry collected a pass from Jan Gunnar Solli, dribbled away from a defender and played a low ball across the six-yard box that Cooper smashed home for his 16th goal of the year.
Cooper then returned the favor to Henry in stoppage time to blow the game wide open, hitting a through ball that Henry floated over Hall from 25 yards out.
The Red Bulls return to action on Oct. 6 to host the Chicago Fire in the afternoon of their final game before the upcoming international break. Toronto FC host D.C. United at BMO Field later that day.