HARRISON, N.J. – The New York Red Bulls were unable to unlock a stingy FC Dallas defense on Sunday, but that still did not stop them from picking up three points at home.
A second-half own goal by FC Dallas midfielder Erick saw the Red Bulls defeat FC Dallas 1-0 in a scrappy affair at Red Bull Arena on Sunday evening. The Brazilian midfielder accidentally kicked the ball into the back of his own net in the 76th minute after a cross came in from the left from Jonny Steele.
The victory improves the Red Bulls to 15-9-6 (51 pts) and keeps them in first place in the Eastern Conference while dropping Dallas to 10-9-10 (40 pts) and keeping them from making up ground in the playoffs race in the tight Western Conference.
The Red Bulls had the strongest start to the match, coming close to scoring in the 17th minute, but a deflected cross from Eric Alexander somehow wound up off the post and into the hands of FC Dallas goalkeeper Raul Fernandez instead of in the back of the net.
WATCH: RBNY takes the lead
The Red Bulls attack suffered a blow eight minutes later when Bradley Wright-Phillips, who looked set to race in on goal on a one-on-one opportunity, pulled up lame after sustaining a right hamstring injury that forced him out of the game.
The physical match seemed destined to end in a scoreless draw, especially with Thierry Henry wasting a pair of good looks. But New York finally broke the deadlock through the Erick own goal, which came on a play in which both Erick and defender Matt Hedges were trying to clear the loose ball.
Alexander had chances put the game away for the Red Bulls after that, but he could not beat Fernandez on a clean breakaway and shot far too high on looks that came a few minutes apart.
FC Dallas came closest to scoring seconds before halftime. Fabian Castillo found himself with the ball at his feet from a close angle on the left before being denied by a superb one-handed stop by RBNY goalkeeper Luis Robles.
Dallas also wanted a penalty kick in the 68th minute when a David Ferreira header hit the outstretched arm of Red Bulls center back Jamison Olave, but referee Matthew Foerster ignored the visitors’ appeals.
Both teams will return to the field next Sunday on Sept. 29 withFC Dallas continuing their quest for a playoff spot when they host the Columbus Crew at Toyota Stadium.