Not even close: Impact loses Eastern Conference lead after being routed by Red Bulls By Mike Wyman Posted on July 14, 2013 1 0 608 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Thierry Henry The Montreal Impact relinquished its hold on first place in the Eastern Conference, soundly drubbed by a 4-0 score and replaced atop the pile by its hosts for the evening, the New York Red Bulls, and slipped to third spot on the ladder following Sporting Kansas City’s win over Toronto FC. On the short end of a 2-0 score by the quarter-hour mark, Montreal were let down by its defence and dominated, as is his custom, by Thierry Henry. The French forward’s goal and pair of helpers ran his lifetime record against the Impact in MLS play to seven goals and three assists in four matches. Montreal got the first attempt of the match, a Daniele Paponi shot that New York goalkeeper Luis Robles turned aside and then spent the remainder of the half on the defensive, with the Red Bulls picking their spots and making the most of some. Ten minutes, in Henry found midfielder Eric Alexander on the right flank. The Michigan native cut towards the middle, beating Matteo Ferrari on his way towards the goal, and slipped the ball into the mesh just inside the right post for his second of the season. Continuing its domination of the Montreal side, New York doubled the lead six minutes later on a drive initiated by defender Brandon Barklage. The defender fed forward Fabian Espindola, also on the left side, with the veteran Argentine backing Ferrari off until he reached the edge of the box and then chipped to Henry, who was conveniently slotted between Alessandro Nesta and Hassoun Camara, both of whom looked on as one touch deftly redirected the ball home. Montreal could have gone into the dressing room down by more than a pair if things had worked out a little better for the home side. Jonny Steele outplayed Camara for a chance in the 24th minute but was unable to complete. Espindola took a run at the goal in the 27th but got tangled up with Ferrari, both players ending up on the pitch and Alexander got the best of Patrice Bernier before unleashing a shot from distance that rattled off the crossbar in the 32nd. Both players came up the right side and, in hopes of shoring up his left flank, Impact head coach Marco Schallibaum, took midfielder Andres Romero off the left flank, replacing him with rookie, Blake Smith, in the 36th minute. An opening regulation 45 minutes that saw Red Bulls take seven shots at Troy Perkins’ goal came to an end with Montreal’s second kick at the can, a header that Italian midfielder Paponi put over the New York net. Showing more energy in the first 10 minutes of the second half, Montreal looked, if only briefly, as if they might make a game of it after all. Smith battled two opponents to earn a corner kick two minutes after play resumed. Moments after the ball was put back into play, Paponi found Justin Mapp, playing his first game back after sitting out with a hamstring injury, but Robles got a finger on the Mississippi-born midfielder’s shot and directed it wide. Robles kept earning his pay packet with a diving stop on a 50th minute shot from Marco Di Vaio. The two busloads of Impact supporters that made the trip to Harrison, N.J., didn’t have a lot to celebrate until the 58th minute and even then it proved to be for naught. Smith found a way to centre the ball from the left side, finding Di Vaio in the box. The veteran forward, who turns 37 on Monday, headed it into the mesh but was declared offside. A New York corner, taken by Henry, led to the third Red Bulls goal, this one headed home by an unmarked Alexander, his fourth of the season making it 3-0 in the 62nd minute. As was the case in the opening half, things could have been worse for Montreal. Peguy Luyindula, who subbed on for Espindola in the 79th minute, took advantage of a Nesta jaunt up the field that left the 36-year-old Italian defender unable to get back into position, two interventions on the part of Jeb Brovsky making up for Nesta’s miscue. Henry fed Tim Cahill in the 84th, but the Australian midfielder’s header bounced off the crossbar behind Perkins and over the goal. Luyindula finally ended the scoring with his first MLS goal, getting the marker on an 88th minute penalty kick awarded after Brovsky heel-clipped oncoming Red Bulls midfielder Lloyd Sam in the penalty area. Montreal, 2-3-2 in its last seven games, plays host to FC Dallas on July 20.