Red Bulls 2, Galaxy 0
After floundering for much of the second half of the season, the New York Red Bulls are in decent position to make Major League Soccer's playoffs.
Luke Rodgers and Thierry Henry scored to lift the Red Bulls over the Los Angeles Galaxy 2-0 Tuesday night and into a tie for 10th place - the final berth in the postseason.
''This was a vital three points that allows us to get to a better place, the playoffs,'' Henry said. ''But there are still two games to go, and we could wind up out of the playoffs if we lose.''
New York (9-7-16) has 43 points, even with Houston (10-9-13), and potentially could finish first in the Eastern Conference. The Red Bulls' remaining games are against the top two teams in the conference, at Sporting Kansas City (11-9-12) on Oct. 15, and home versus Philadelphia (10-7-14) five days later.
''We're looking to be hot when the playoffs come,'' Red Bulls defender Tim Ream said. ''If we can win the next two, we'll be sitting pretty going into the playoffs. But at this point, we're just looking to get into the playoffs any way we can.''
Los Angeles (18-4-10), already assured of a playoff berth, failed to clinch its second straight Supporters Shield for best regular-season record. The Galaxy had won their four previous games.
While David Beckham started for Los Angeles, the Galaxy was missing U.S. national team star Landon Donovan, sidelined by a strained right quadriceps.
''Everybody's tired,'' the Galaxy's Chad Barrett said. ''We're missing four players tonight just due to little injuries here and there and the national team. We need other players to step up and do their job.''
New York went ahead when Rodgers scored in the 32nd minute after Joel Lindpere's corner kick went to Jan Gunnar Solli, who outjumped defender Frankie Hejduk. Solli's header went off the gloves of goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, and Rodgers scored as defender Stephen Keel blocked the keeper's view.
Before an announced crowd of 25,186, the teams played a match that was originally scheduled for last month but was postponed because of Hurricane Irene.
Henry got his 14th league goal of the season, tying former teammate Dwayne De Rosario for the MLS the lead. The former French national team star scored off a feed from Mexican captain Rafa Marquez, beating A.J. DelLaGarza down the right flank and tapping the ball past Ricketts.
New York improved to 29-0-13 under coach Hans Backe when scoring first.
''Over 90 minutes, this was probably the best, well-balanced game from us,'' Backe said.