Spurred on by a two-goal performance from forward Kenny Cooper and Thierry Henry’s 15th goal of the season, the New York Red Bulls earned their second-straight shutout with a 3-0 road win over the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park Saturday afternoon in the team’s regular season finale.
The victory secured third place for New York (16-9-9, 57 points), as the Red Bulls will avoid the MLS Cup Playoffs Knockout Round and take on long-time rival D.C. United in a two-leg, Eastern Conference Semifinals Series starting next weekend (Nov. 3 or 4) with the first match being played at Red Bull Arena. Exact day, kickoff time and broadcast information are still to be determined. Playoff tickets for that match are on sale now by calling 1.877.RBSOCCER or logging onto www.newyorkredbulls.com.
The second leg of the aggregate goal series will take place on either Nov. 7 or 8 at RFK Stadium. New York was tied in the Eastern Conference with the Chicago Fire on 57 points but the Red Bulls finished third after having scored more than the Fire this season. Goals scored is MLS’ first tiebreaker (New York led 57 to 46).
The Red Bulls took the lead against the Union in the 13th minute after New York midfielder Tim Cahill was tackled inside the box by Carlos Valdes, earning a penalty kick. Cooper stepped up and tucked it into the lower left hand corner of the net to move into sole possession of second place in club history for goals scored in a season with 17.
New York doubled its lead with 10 minutes to play in the first half. Henry was first to a loose ball in Philadelphia’s defensive end and the Frenchman dribbled towards goal, juked past a pair of Union defenders and chipped it in over an on-rushing Zac MacMath.
Philadelphia came out strong to start the second half and Valdes nearly pulled one back, heading a Michael Farfan delivery over goalkeeper Luis Robles and off the top of the crossbar in the 56th minute.
Withstanding pressure from the hosts, Cooper doubled his tally for the afternoon in the 66th minute. Midfielder Dax McCarty had possession at the top of the Union box and slid to an onside Cooper, who knocked across MacMath and into the net.
New York Red Bulls 3, Philadelphia Union 0
October 27, 2012 – PPL Park – Chester, PA
MLS Regular Season
NY: Kenny Cooper 17 (penalty kick) 13’
NY: Thierry Henry 15 (unassisted) 35’
NY: Kenny Cooper 18 (Dax McCarty 3) 66’