Second half strikes from Teal Bunbury and C.J. Sapong gave Sporting KC a comfortable 2-0 win over 10-man New York, which lost Thierry Henry to a 28th minute red card.Sporting Kansas City clinched a spot in the 2011 MLS Cup playoffs thanks to a comfortable 2-0 victory over the visiting New York Red Bulls. Teal Bunbury and C.J. Sapong bagged second half goals against the 10-man Red Bulls, who had Thierry Henry sent off after just 28 minutes.
Both sides had chances to gain an advantage in the first half, but Aurelien Collin missed an opportunity from point-blank range, while Jimmy Nielsen did well to deny Dane Richards on the other end.
The biggest talking point of the game came on 28 minutes when Henry clattered into the back of the prone Roger Espinoza well behind the play, leading referee Kevin Stott to immediately issue a straight red card to the French striker. Henry vehemently argued the accidental nature of the collision, but it was too late.
Without a goal on the day and now sitting out New York's final regular season game, the card ended Henry's chances at winning the Golden Boot, as he is currently tied for the lead, but behind Dwayne De Rosario in assists, the tiebreaker for the award.
After Henry's ejection, Sporting began to make its numerical advantage felt as Bunbury fired wide just before the break and Graham Zusi shot just over minutes after the restart. However, it wasn't long before Bunbury and Sporting found their range.
New York failed to clear a corner from Zusi as Julio Cesar managed to cushion a header right in front of Bunbury, who fired home on the volley for an excellent goal to put Sporting on the lead just prior to the hour mark.
Sapong went on the cement both Sporting's win and his Rookie of the Year credentials in the 74th minute as New York once again failed to defend a corner kick. Zusi's delivery was overhit, but headed back towards goal by Davy Arnaud, only for Sapong to redirect into the net despite having his back to goal.
Sporting comfortably held on for the win and secured a playoff berth, its total of 48 points putting the team in good position to claim one of the Eastern Conference's three automatic berths. New York, meanwhile, remains in the wild card berths for now, but Portland – three points behind with a game in hand – could draw level on points with a midweek win at D.C. United.