[MLS SPOTLIGHT] A week after they traveled to Home Depot Center to play a spirited, exciting 1-1 tie with the Galaxy, the Red Bulls returned home to face the other HDC tenant, and fell behind twice before losing, 3-2, Sunday in another entertaining encounter.
That Justin Braun makes less money than Thierry Henry is not news, but what is noteworthy is that he and his Chivas USA teammates were not at all cowed by the splendor of Red Bull Arena, its high-paid players, nor a 30-minute delay to sort out a power outage that pushed back the opening kickoff.
Braun ($87,500) hit all three goals as Chivas USA dumped the Red Bulls, 3-2, to even its record at 3-3-3. He exploited a somnolent Red Bulls defense that allowed him to glide into the penalty area to curl a shot into the top corner early in the match, and conceded two more goals on set plays after rallying to tie each time. Henry ($5.6 million) scored the first equalizer midway through the first half, and Dwayne De Rosario converted a penalty kick to re-tie the game 10 minutes before halftime.
Five minutes after Henry’s goal in the 26th minute, set up by a Rafa Marquez long ball that defender Julian Valentin stumbled trying to stop, Heath Pearce floated a free kick from midfield to the far post, where Ante Jazic headed it down for Braun to drive into the net from close range and a tight angle. Braun scored nine goals for Chivas USA in 2010 yet was making his first start of the season in place of Marcos Mondaini, who was handed a four-game suspension for his wild tackle that fractured Javier Morales’ ankle in a 1-0 loss to RSL last week.
New York came back again with De Rosario’s penalty kick set up by a Pearce foul on Luke Rodgers, but its defense fell asleep again 11 minutes into the second half. This time, Simon Elliott launched a free kick from midfield that somehow found Alejandro Moreno unmarked. His downward header was pushed by keeper Bouna Coundoul onto the inside of the post, from whence it rebounded across the goal line for Braun to stab into the net from a yard out.
Henry’s goal was his fifth of the season, so in that category he leads Braun, who had yet to score in 2011 but now has 19 for his MLS career to seven for Henry. In a league of wildly disparate salaries, both players have their value, as do the changes at Chivas USA, which has already won as many home games as it did all of last season (two).