Red Bulls get one back on Houston

New York Red Bulls starting goalkeeper Bill Gaudette New York Red Bulls starting goalkeeper Bill Gaudette makes a save during warmups prior to the game against the Houston Dynamo at Red Bull Arena. (Aug. 10, 2012) Photo Credit: Getty

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HARRISON, N.J. -- Red Bulls captain Thierry Henry looked at newcomer Tim Cahill's two assists, the strong first-half defense, and the attitude change from a loss last week in Houston and still wasn't satisfied with a 2-0 victory over the Dynamo on Friday night.

Henry, whose assist off a chip from Cahill in the second of three minutes of extra time found second-half sub Jan Gunnar Solli for a tap-in goal, had previously come out publicly about his team's lack of fire and sloppy defense in the 2-0 loss in Houston last Friday night. And Henry didn't let up just because the Red Bulls (12-7-5) moved into first place in the East with 41 points, a point ahead of Houston (11-6-7) and Sporting KC.

"What I'm confused about is that I know we won, I know we played better," Henry said after setting up Solli for his third goal of the season. "But we gave them four to five clear-cut chances on top of possession.

"Everybody's going to be happy and sleep well tonight. We won. Well.they created chances. I'm always the one to kill the night, but all I'll remember is (Brian) Ching missing a header, and (Corey) Ashe hitting the crossbar, and (Macoumba) Kandji had two chances."

Those all came in the final 15 minutes of the match, a period where the Dynamo fired off four of their 12 total shots.

Until then, the Red Bulls held the advantage thanks to close marking in the first half and solid midfield play led by Cahill and

Dax McCarty in the first 30 minutes of the second half.

Still, it took an almost fluke goal from defender Markus Holgersson in the 61st minute to keep the Red Bulls undefeated at home at 8-0-3 and snap Houston's five-game winning streak and eight-game unbeaten streak.

Taking a cross from the left near goalkeeper Tally Hall, Cahill, who came over July 26 from the English Premier side Everton, headed it across Hall's front to a surprised Holgersson. The defender put it into the open net for his second goal of the season.

"It was a perfect cross," Holgersson said. "And then Tim came in with speed and hit it to me and I was just there. We stayed with a lot of players and got them under attack, so it was an easy goal for me."

Cahill also assisted on the second goal, feeding Henry with a short chip, which Henry then pushed over to Solli after luring Hall to his side.

Cahill played all 90 minutes, earning coach Hans Backe's praise for his stamina. But the midfielder, signed July 26 from the English Premier League side Everton and still working himself into shape, said he felt good despite the workload. He played both midfield and forward.

"For me, it's another 90 minutes," Cahill said. "I grew into the game. I was creating opportunities, trying to find consistency. There's a lot of eyes on me and they need to see what I can bring collectively."

The loss was the Dynamo's ninth in nine appearances in New York.

"I knew it was going to be a battle coming in, especially the way they played last week," said Hall, who stopped Henry three times in the first half, twice on clean break-ins and once when the keeper mishandled a ball near Henry but scrambled hard enough to block the forward's falling attempt. "We knew they were going to come out flying, and they did."

None of that appeased Henry, however. The Red Bulls, he said, might be ahead in the standings, but compared to Houston they are behind as a team.

"It's a concern for me," the captain said. "I'm a pain in the neck at times, but did we control the game? Not yet. If not for that second goal, that's a 1-0 game.

"We had to rectify the attitude, and we did. Now we have to rectify how we play. We haven't played a game yet where (the fans) can just sit back and eat their popcorn. But we were in their face tonight."

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