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Red Bulls Rout Crew 4-1 in Eastern Conference Battle

The Red Bulls' star power proves too much for the Crew on Saturday night.

Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

A game that was expected to be a tight affair, between two teams tied in MLS' Eastern Conference standings, the match featuring the Columbus Crew and the New York Red Bulls was anything but close.

Despite playing to a 1-1 tie earlier this season, the Red Bulls demolished the Crew 4-1 on Saturday night at Red Bull Arena with a world class performance from former World Cup winner Thierry Henry. The star striker was involved in all four New York goals, scoring one and assisting on the other three.

The game began brightly for the Black and Gold with two opportunities to open the scoring in the first 10 minutes. Just two minutes after kickoff, Crew midfielder Ben Speas got in behind the Red Bulls' defense and forced goalkeeper Luis Robles into a diving save. Five minutes later Wil Trapp found left back Bernardo Anor on the wing and he took a shot from long range that went just wide.

After Columbus goalkeeper Steve Clark made several nice saves to keep the game scoreless, New York finally broke through. MLS' league leading goal scorer Bradley Wright-Phillips finished off a series of nice passes by the Red Bulls to give his team a 1-0 lead after 17 minutes.

After giving up the goal, the Crew lost hard working forward Jairo Arrieta. Number 19 uncharacteristically pulled up when chasing down a long ball. The forward tried to walk off what appeared to be a hamstring injury, but was forced to the ground and had to be stretchered off the pitch.

Arrieta's replacement, Adam Bedell made his mark just six minutes before the halftime break. In the 39th minute, midfielder Ethan Finlay took the ball from a New York defender and found Bedell at the top of the box. The 6'7" rookie fired a shot that beat Robles for his first professional goal and a 1-1 score line.

It appeared the two teams would go into the locker rooms tied at one until the ball fell to the feet of Henry inside attacking penalty area. After defender Eric Gehrig slid to clear the ball, Henry calmly settled and chipped the ball into the back corner for a 2-1 lead.

Just 11 minutes into the second half and New York added to their lead through Lloyd Sam. Henry found the winger left wide open in the Black and Gold's 18-yard box and he was easily able to beat Clark for the 3-1 lead.

Things got worse for the Crew in the 84th minute as Anor was shown a second yellow card and dismissed from the match for kicking the ball at a Red Bulls player after a foul.

Henry put his final touches on the game in second half stoppage time. The Frenchman found midfielder Eric Alexander with a perfect through ball and he was able to nestle it into the goal to complete the route.

Columbus won't have much time to lick their wounds with a busy week ahead. The Black and Gold host Sporting Kansas City Wednesday night before welcoming the Montreal Impact on Saturday.