HARRISON, N.J. - Thierry Henry scored in the first half and Fabian Espindola added a goal on a wild play with 10 minutes left, leading the New York Red Bulls to a 2-0 victory over Toronto FC on Saturday night.
The Red Bulls (14-9-6) took over sole possession of first place in the MLS Eastern Conference standings. New York, which has five games remaining, began the day tied with both Montreal and Sporting Kansas City, but the Impact lost to Columbus and Sporting was off.
Toronto (4-14-11) was eliminated from playoff contention.
The Red Bulls dominated play from the start and did not allow Toronto to get any scoring chances, as goalkeeper Luis Robles got his ninth shutout of the season. New York finished 2-0-1 against Toronto this season, and improved to 9-2-3 at home.
The Red Bulls finished the season with a 2-0-1 mark against Toronto and improved to 9-2-3 at home this season.
The two teams started off sluggish with no real scoring chances during the first 15 minutes.
The Red Bulls had the first good chance in the 19th minute, when Dax McCarty unleashed a left-footed blast that was sent directly at Toronto goalkeeper Joe Bendik, who stopped the shot.
Toronto had an excellent scoring opportunity in the 27th, when Andrew Wiedeman made a diving attempt at a cross and sent the attempt over the crossbar, causing a collision between Wiedeman and Robles.
The Red Bulls finally broke through in the 32nd minute, when rookie Michael Bustamante, making only his fourth appearance of the season and first start, made a solid run with the ball, then made a perfect pass to the wing to McCarty. McCarty then slid the ball across to a diving Henry, who knocked it home.
It was Henry's ninth goal of the season and his 40th goal for the Red Bulls, placing him third all-time among goal scorers in the franchise's history. Only Juan Pablo Angel (58) and Giovanni Savarese (41) have scored more.
Toronto had one other chance in the first half, when Justin Braun's header was caught by Robles.
The Red Bulls continued the pressure in the second half. Off an indirect free kick, Henry put the ball in front for tall defender Markus Holgersson, whose header was stopped by Bendik.
Newcomer Bradley Wright-Phillips, playing in just his fourth game and his third start, had two good scoring chances within a span of five minutes. In the 66th minute,
Wright-Phillips' header was stopped by Bendik in the 66th and his left-footed attempt was corralled by the goalie in the 71st.
Toronto had a chance in the 70th, but Robles punched aside a corner kick.
The Red Bulls then scored an insurace goal in the 80th. Espindola, who had just entered the game a minute earlier in place of Wright-Phillps, made an incredible play off a mad scramble for the ball. The ball floated six yards to the right of the goal, right along the goal line, but Espindola jumped and got his head on the ball and it managed to get by Bendik for a 2-0 lead.
Even Henry was shocked that Espindola's shot went in for his eighth goal of the season, trailing only Henry for the team lead.