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 to take over the tenth 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.
Rodgers Rallies Red Bulls
The game-winner marked the first goal for Rodgers 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.
The home side dominated the opening 45 minutes of play, registering 12 shots to New York’s five. 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.
The New York Red Bulls return to Red Bull Arena for a match against Real Salt Lake on Wednesday.
Source: New York Red Bulls
NY -- Luke Rodgers 7 (Juan Agudelo 2, Stephen Keel 2) 36
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