HARRISON, N.J. (AP) — Lloyd Sam and Tim Cahill scored to lead the New York Red Bulls in a 2-1 victory over the last-place D.C. United on Saturday night.
The Red Bulls (12-9-6) moved into a tie with Montreal and Sporting Kansas City for first place in the Eastern Conference. New York won despite playing without star forward Thierry Henry for the first 57 minutes as punishment for his blow-up at practice with head coach Mike Petke.
Bradley Wright-Phillips made his first MLS start in Thierry's place and barely missed scoring in the 45th minute when Sam's pass fell just wide of the leaping forward.
Sam put the Red Bulls on the board in the eighth minute on a freak goal after Cahill was knocked down in the box. There was no call on the Cahill play, but the ball came out to the right wing to Sam, whose lofted shot hit the left post.
DC keeper Bill Hamid tried to gather it from the ground, but after a delay for an officials conference it was determined the ball had crossed the goal line for Sam's third score of the season.
Nick DeLeon got his first goal of the season for United (3-18-5), tying the score in the 36th minute. He took a chip from Dwaye DeRosario from outside the box, made a move out front, and barely beat Luis Robles to his right.
Cahill got the tiebreaker a minute later, converting on a header off Jonny Steele's cross from the left side. It was Cahill's team-leading eighth goal.
Henry finally entered in the 58th minute for Cahill and made an impact two minutes later, dribbling into the box and firing a shot that barely went wide right.
United missed tying it in the 72nd minute after Ibrahim Sekagya pulled down De Rosario in the box, resulting in a penalty kick for the midfielder and a red card for Sekagya. But Robles dove and reached to his right to preserve the lead.