Dirty Tackle

Thierry Henry encroaches on penalty to cost eliminated New York a vital goal

The day after MLS opted to be a buzzkill and take their time in postponing the second leg of New York and DC United's Eastern Conference semifinal due to snow, the match was finally allowed to proceed and the Red Bulls probably wish it hadn't. With the tie even at 1-1 (there is no away goals rule) after the first leg, the pressure only grew as the both teams went into the final 45 minutes without finding the necessary goal to advance.

In the 69th minute, New York were gifted a breakthrough though, when DC goalkeeper Bill Hamid was shown a straight red for tripping up Kenny Cooper after the Red Bulls executed an excellent combination of passes to set him up for a one-v-one. Hamid went on to have a meltdown on the pitch before being replaced in goal by backup keeper and young Santa Claus, Joe Willis.

You might have expected New York's resident legend Thierry Henry to take the penalty and put his side in control against 10-man DC. But, as ESPN's Paul Carr points out, Henry has only taken one penalty in two and half seasons with NY and he missed it. But Cooper did take it and he had never missed in 10 attempts in MLS. After a big stride and a stutter-step, Cooper didn't miss his 11th attempt either, but the goal was disallowed for encroachment from Henry (and possibly Tim Cahill as well). On the retake, Cooper tried to mimic his previous run-up, but this time Willis made the save.

From there, Rafa Marquez was sent off after getting booked a second time in the 75th minute and DC United went up 2-1 in the 88th minute with a goal from Nick DeLeon. In added-time, New York had a free kick in excellent position to score. Henry lined it up, but it was Roy Miller, who isn't one of the Premier League's all-time leading scorers, took the shot and blasted it into orbit.

So while the LA Galaxy's high-priced stars helped carry them to the next round of the playoffs, New York's all played a part in getting them eliminated. DC will now play Houston in the Eastern Conference Championship.

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