Red Bulls 2, Impact 1
HARRISON, N.J. (AP)
Sometime after he retires, Thierry Henry of the New York Red Bulls may look back on his spectacular bicycle kick against the Montreal Impact and say it was one of the best goals of his long career.
After the Red Bulls' 2-1 win Wednesday night, Henry was more concerned that his team almost blew a 2-0 lead in the closing minutes with him sitting on the bench after being lifted so the crowd could salute him.
''When I was on the bench I was going crazy, the way we finished,'' said Henry, who scored both goals to lead New York to its fourth straight win. ''That's the way I am. Hopefully, I will have the time to enjoy all the goals I scored in my career, but not now. That's what I have on my mind now, the way we finished the game.''
The end was scary when it should have been a laugher after Henry's fifth goal of the year gave New York a 2-0 lead in the 88th minute.
Marco Di Vaio cut the lead in half, scoring for Montreal in the 90th minute. The second-half substitute almost tied the game a minute later, hitting both goalposts on one shot.
''I have been fortunate to score some good goals in my career,'' said Henry, who has more than 300 career goals as a professional. ''But you cannot think about it right now. What I am thinking about right now is we have to play better until the end of the game.''
However, Henry's fifth goal of the season was all anyone will remember. Juninho took a corner kick from the right side that Red Bulls defender Markus Holgersson flicked toward the left post. Henry brought the 11,892 fans out of their seats when he went head over heels to drill the ball into the net.
Red Bulls midfielder Tim Cahill has seen Henry score his share of goals in England.
''Tonight shows the class he's got,'' Cahill said. ''When we need him, he comes up trumps and that goal was pretty special. That finish, it was classy. That's what you need.''
Di Vaio got his fifth goal of the season off a turnover two minutes later and he nearly got his sixth a minute later. His shot banged off the right goalpost, slammed into the left and somehow stayed out of the net, avoiding a dramatic letdown.
''That shot was mind-blowing,'' Petke said. ''I don't know how it didn't go in. Those are the things that drive you crazy. We have to manage the game a little better than that.''
The loss was only the second for Montreal (5-2-2).
''We never gave up,'' Impact coach Marco Schallibaum added. ''This was one of our best games away from home. My guys were in very good position.''
Henry had given the Red Bulls a 1-0 lead late in first-half stoppage time.
The goal came on a counterattack with Henry sending a pass from midfield to Eric Alexander on the right wing. He cut into the box and fired a shot that hit the bottom of the crossbar. Fabian Espindola, who came on in the 25th minute when Peguy Luyindola injured his left hamstring, got the rebound and centered the ball to Henry. The Frenchman's shot from 5 yards out went into the net off the leg of Impact defender Hassoun Camara.
''That's why he is on the field,'' Petke said of Henry. ''It just takes a moment of magic from him, and he had two tonight.''
The win avenged a 1-0 loss to the Impact in Montreal earlier this season.
The Impact, who rested Di Vaio until the 66th minute because they played in San Jose over the weekend, had a couple of good first-half chances against Luis Robles. Sanna Nyassi had the best, breaking past the Red Bulls' defense in the 21st minute, only to have Robles come out and smother his shot.
Henry could have had two goals in the half. His shot in the 18th minute went just wide of the right goalpost.
Nyassi had two other chances in the two minutes before Robles stoned him in close. The Gambian was wide of the right post in the 19th minute and hit the crossbar in the 20th.
Robles stopped a shot in the box by Andrew Wenger just seconds before the counterattack that led to Henry's goal.