May 2011: Thierry Henry and the Red Bulls stormed to top in the table

Thierry Henry and the Red Bulls continued their winning ways as New York stormed to the top of the Eastern Conference standings with a 4-0 drubbing of DC United and a 1-0 win over Sporting Kansas City in the last week of April. Henry netted twice and teenage sensation Juan Agudelo scored a spectacular volley as a late substitute against DC, while Luke Rodgers continued to show why he could be the team’s best acquisition with the lone strike against KC, his third goal in as many games.


Red Bulls coach Hans Backe pursued Rodgers for over a year before luring him away from Notts County, where the English forward had played for Backe during the 2009 season.

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Thierry Henry embraces Luke Rodgers: Thanks to the French-English striking partners the New York Red Bulls are leading the Eastern Conference of MLS. (Photo: GettyImages)

However, even his former coach is a bit surprised at just how well the 29-year-old has adapted to MLS play.

“Largely, I think he’s fitting in well with this league,” said Backe. "Normally, he doesn’t score as much, but he’s technically good enough to combine with Henry and they use each other’s combination in a good way.”

Rodgers never scored more than 13 goals in England’s fourth division and now he’s averaging almost a goal a game, but Henry says it has more to do with who he's playing with rather than a lower standard of quality in Major League Soccer.

“I don’t know if he had the players that he has around him now,” said Henry, who set up Rodger’s strike. “No disrespect to his former team but he’s playing with guys who can see the game."

Hinting at the fact that his previous team had a poor midfield, Rodgers acknowledged that his role has changed from when he played in England. He explained that his responsibility was to use his versatility and pace to provide service to his striking partner.

"At Notts County I was playing up front with Lee Hughes who was the league’s top goalscorer,” said Rodgers. “I tried to create space for him and pass to him, but it’s nice to be scoring here as well.”

Philadelphia Union trail Red Bulls by just one point

The surprising Philadelphia Union are a point off the Red Bull’s pace with a game in hand, thanks to their 1-0 win over San Jose on Saturday. Last year’s newcomers finished second from bottom in the conference in 2010 and were expected to repeat this season, but former 1. FC Cologne goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon has notched a league leading four shut-outs, allowing just two goals in six games.

The Houston Dynamo had the chance to top the standings after beating DC United 4-1 on Saturday, but lost at home to the Colorado Rapids 2-1 on Wednesday night. The win snapped the 2010 MLS Champion's four-game winless streak, but didn’t stop Dynamo rookie forward Will Bruin from taking MLS Player-of-the-Week honors for his hat-trick performance in the Nation’s Capital..

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Will Bruin of Dynamo Houston, pictured here in the match against MLS champions Colorado, scored three goals for the 4-1 over DC United and was honoured “Player of the Week”. (Photo: GettyImages)


Playing their third game in 10 days and having surrendered four goals in each of the previous two, DC United bounced back on Wednesday night with a 2-1 win in Seattle. Charlie Davies and former 1860 Munich forward Josh Wolff each got a goal and an assist to end the Sounders six-game unbeaten streak. It was Davies’ league-leading sixth goal and third game-winner of the season.

Salt Lake tired after defeat in the final of Champions League

The Los Angeles Galaxy remained on top of the Western Conference table in spite of their 2-1 loss at FC Dallas on Sunday. Landon Donovan, who took MLS Player-of-the-week honors the previous week for his two goal effort in a 3-0 victory over the Portland Timbers, scored again but couldn’t regain his form after a storm delay of more than an hour in the second half. David Beckham, who flew to London after the Portland game to attend the Royal Wedding, made it back in time to pull off another of his famous off-the-plane and on-to-the-pitch acts. He even made the starting line-up, but contributed little and failed to return to the playing field after the monsoon subsided.

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Landon Donovan in a battle for the ball with Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman and defender Jair Benitez during Los Angeles Galaxy’s 2-1 defeat at FC Dallas. (Photo: GettyImages)


After winning their first four games of the season, Real Salt Lake suffered their first MLS defeat, 1-0 at the Portland Timbers, on Saturday. The game came four days after their heartbreaking 1-0 home loss to Mexico’s CF Monterrey in the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League Final. The two sides played to a 2-2 draw in Mexico the week before and it was the closest a MLS team had come to landing a coveted spot in the FIFA World Club Championship, so there was little surprise that the team played a lackluster match. Salt Lake have played four fewer games than Los Angeles yet only trail by three points in the standings, which coach Jason Kreis admits they might need to get over such an emotional loss.

"I don't think there's any reason to try to lie or play act here, we're very disappointed,” he said. “I'm having a very difficult time moving on, but with the ending of everything comes the beginning of something new."

Chivas USA, who won their first game of the season with last week’s 2-1 victory in San Jose, notched their second on the trot with a 3-0 home win against the New England Revolution on Saturday. The Los Angeles based team started the season with two losses and three draws, but are now undefeated over their last five matches.

In other MLS action on Saturday, the Columbus Crew beat the Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 and the Seattle Sounders downed Toronto FC 3-0, while the Colorado Rapids drew 1-1 at home with the Chicago Fire.