Thierry Henry quickly recognized the situation presented to him in second half stoppage time.
A player of his enduring class couldn’t miss the modest invitation offered by substitute Columbus goalkeeper Matt Lampson. The 23-year-old backup betrayed his dearth of first-team experience by cheating too far off his line to deal with the potential service from the left corner.
Henry stood over the ball and weighed his options. He could play it short to waste time. He could deliver into the penalty area as expected. Or he could gamble on the sliver of an opening supplied by Lampson’s positioning to try to score his second goal of the night.
For Henry, the quandary could only lead to one decision. He went for brilliance. And with one curling strike off the back post, he produced it yet again.
Henry’s Olimpico clinched the New York Red Bulls’ 3-1 victory over the Crew in a key Eastern Conference affair at Red Bull Arena, but it wasn’t enough to lift his side to the top spot in this edition of the FOX SoccerMLS Power Rankings.
19. TORONTO FC: TFC executives are currently weighing a reduction in season ticket prices for next season. A spokesperson for Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE), the Reds’ investor/operator, told the Toronto Sun last week that the discussions include recommendations to adjust the prices based on loyalty. This statement marked a rare instance when someone associated a potential reward with any aspect of supporting the perpetually futile club.
18. CHIVAS USA: No result appeared more likely prior to the weekend than the Red-and-White’s inevitable home defeat to San Jose on Saturday night.
17. PORTLAND TIMBERS: Forget about the raucous atmosphere and the two points taken from Seattle in Saturday’s 1-1 draw. The highlight of the weekend for the Timbers: the debut of José Adolfo Valencia in the 3-2 reserve victory over the Sounders on Sunday.
16. COLORADO RAPIDS: Former US U-17 and U-20 international Chris Klute entered the Rapids’ protracted search for a reliable left back by signing on a year-long loan from Atlanta last week.
15. NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION: Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to DC United mathematically confirmed a fact evident for quite some time: the Revs won’t feature in the postseason.
14. PHILADELPHIA UNION: Even a late, salvaged point at BMO Field counts as a positive result for this young group as it builds toward next season.
12. VANCOUVER WHITECAPS: Different lineup, same old defeat for the sputtering Whitecaps. Maybe a spell of four consecutive games at B.C. Place will cure the current ills and stop the five-game slide just in time to preserve a playoff berth.
11. FC DALLAS: One stellar strike won’t erase the enduring stain of Julian de Guzman’s underwhelming spell with Toronto FC. It will breathe new life into FCD’s playoff hopes, though.
10. COLUMBUS CREW: Robert Warzycha must hope Federico Higuaín’s toe complaint does not linger while the Crew makes its playoff push.
9. DC UNITED: Life without Dwayne De Rosario might include a spat or two between Ben Olsen and Branko Boskovic if Olsen continues to haul off the Montenegrin playmaker after 56 minutes and impugn his fitness in the post-game press conference.
8. HOUSTON DYNAMO: Need a glimpse into the Dynamo’s determined mentality? Just take a look at the tape from Friday and watch Corey Ashe square up to Kei Kamara after an incident between the two men during the second half.
7. REAL SALT LAKE: As most of the Western Conference contenders took care of domestic business this weekend, RSL traveled to Panama City to prepare for Tuesday’s crunch CONCACAF Champions League against Tauro FC.
6. CHICAGO FIRE: The quietest resurgence in the league continued with a come-from-behind 3-1 home victory over Montréal on Saturday night. Could the Fire somehow sneak up on everyone and snatch the top seed in the Eastern Conference?
5. LOS ANGELES GALAXY: A lawsuit filed in a Manhattan federal court on Friday alleged the Galaxy and MLS withheld a fee of at least $385,000 after a sports agency provided information prior to Robbie Keane’s $5.7 million transfer from Tottenham Hotspur last summer. No word yet on whether the Galaxy will ask for a refund after they paid well over the odds for the out-of-favor (and currently prolific) Ireland captain.
4. NEW YORK RED BULLS: Signing Digão, Kaka’s younger brother, makes up for not completing a deal for the Real Madrid star during the summer transfer window, right?
3. SEATTLE SOUNDERS: Consider the return of Marcus Hahnemann as a rather logical step to sort out the previously messy backup goalkeeper situation. Whether it will create an unwanted controversy for the number one shirt remains uncertain.
2. SPORTING KANSAS CITY: Is this group sharp enough in the final third to fulfill its championship ambitions?
1. SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES: With the imposing home-and-home series against Chivas USA now finished, the Earthquakes conclude a particularly forgiving four-game stretch with a visit by Portland on Wednesday.