Seven minutes into the game, it looked like the New York Red Bulls had finally gotten the message. With the teams playoff hopes hanging by a string, New York attacked early and often, earning two corner kicks in a three minute span, all while consistently pressing Salt Lake into their own end.
Wouldn’t you know it? A set piece once again broke the Red Bull defense for the opening notch, and a mental gaffe sealed the game as a visiting Salt Lake rolled over New York 3-1.
Salt Lake took an early lead on Alvaro Saborío’s ninth goal of the season. Fabian Espíndola earned a corner for his side off of a Chris Albright touch. Andy Williams lined up the corner and found a mismatch. The diminutive Teemu Tainio tried, in vain, to cover a leaping Saborío, who soared over the Finnish middle man and placed a header into the upper 90 for the games opening notch.
Four minutes later, Red Bull defender Tim Ream sent a misguided pass back towards an offguard Frank Rost and the miscommunication in the penalty area allowed a streaking Espíndola to intercept the pass and cleanly slot Salt Lakes second of the evening.
Espíndola was not done there. By the 21st minute, a Saborío and Collen Warner one-two combination ended with Warner springing Espindola behind the Red Bulls defense. The Argentine ran towards a one on one with Rost and beat the German veteran for his teams third, and final tally.
The Red Bulls would respond by the 69th minute on a brilliant side kick volley by Joel Lindpere off of a free kick, but the goal was too little, too late. The loss leaves New York with only five games to secure the necessary points to achieve a playoff berth. Chivas USA managed to come from behind to tie DC United behind a pair of Juan Pablo Angel goals; a result that plays into the Red Bulls hands. Nevertheless, DC holds a pair of games in hand over New York, while the Red Bulls look to secure three points against the Portland Timbers at home this Saturday. Currently, the Timbers are tied with New York for the tenth and final playoff spot (the Red Bulls hold a goal differential tie breaker).