FC Dallas were the favorites in their MLS Cup Playoffs contest versus the New York Red Bulls. They had the fourth-best regular season in the league, while New York was down at 10th. They were at home and they were healthy. The Red Bulls were just those big budget, little return guys from a big city who spent the season bickering. Joel Lindpere and Thierry thought otherwise though as each scored in a 2-0 Red Bulls win that eliminated the Hoops and moved New York onto the conference semifinals where they will face the LA Galaxy.
At the beginning, New York looked the inept team as Dallas took the play to them. They had the possession and the chances, but as time went on, it became clear that Dallas were at least equally inept. Their finishing was abysmal and the more their back line had to pass the ball, the more they gave it away. It was ugly soccer from both sides and it carried into the second half.
Hans Backe, who was already being panned for putting just five players on the bench, made the move to put Mehdi Ballouchy in at the hour mark. That move also looked questionable considering Ballouchy's poor play this season, but he made it may off after just a minute. Ballouchy and Lindpere combined on the right with a give-and-go with Ballouchy eventually played a low cross in front of goal that Lindpere went sliding in for. Ugo Ihemelu lost his mark of Lindpere and just watched as Lindpere knocked the ball in for the opening goal.
Dallas got a boost in the 79th minute when New York was sent down to 10 men. Jan Gunnar Solli went in on a stupid and high challenge from behind on Daniel Hernandez and was rightfully sent off. It didn't amount to much for Dallas though, who still struggled to put things together. The Zach Loyd went off after colliding heads with Rafa Marquez and because Dallas had used all their subs, both teams were at 10 men.
Henry put the ribbon on the game when he latched onto a clearance. He got in behind a Dallas team that was pressed forward in search of an equalizer and he tried to chip Kevin Hartman, who got a hand to it. Henry was quick to get back to the ball though and tapped it into the empty net. It clinched the win and a high profile match up with Los Angeles, who will be in New York to start the two-legged tie on Sunday.