With two games left to play, the New York Red Bulls traveled to Livestrong Park in Kansas City on Saturday, hoping to secure three critical points that would practically guarantee their post-season campaign. But Kansas City—who had only lost twice at home this season—were not to be underestimated, beating RBNY 2-0.
Sporting Kansas City came roaring out of the gate, pressing hard on the RBNY back line. After bringing the game back under control, New York looked ready to challenge for the length of the game. But in the 28th minute, Thierry Henry became tangled with Roger Espinoza, and when the KC player fell to the pitch on a subsequent play, the NY captain ran through him as he was getting up. Debate rages as to whether the the act was intentional or not, but referee Kevin Stott showed a straight red card and the Red Bulls went down to 10 men.
With the creative spark gone, Kansas City poured it on, managing 24 shots while New York could only manage 6. Teal Bunbury broke the scoring deadlock in the 57th minute on a volley, and Rookie Of The Year candidate CJ Sapong doubled the lead in the 74th. The 2-0 result sends Sporting KC into the playoffs for the first time since 2008, and leaves RBNY barely hanging onto the final playoff spot with 43 points.
All was not lost for the Red Bulls on the day: heated rivals DC United went up 1-0 in the 90th minute, only to see the Chicago Fire come storming back during four minutes of stoppage time to shock United 2-1. With both Chicago and Portland sitting three points behind NY, NY can practically clinch a playoff spot with a win over the Philadelphia Union this Thursday - but they will have to do it without Thierry Henry, who will serve his automatic one game suspension at the worst time imaginable.