(Reuters) - Thierry Henry created both goals as New York Red Bulls beat D.C United 2-0 in their Major League Soccer Eastern Conference semi-final, first leg game on Sunday.
The 37-year-old former France international, whose contract with the Red Bulls ends this season, showed plenty of his class playing in a withdrawn role on the left flank.
It was a delightful back-heel from Henry that found Bradley Wright-Phillips in the 40th minute and the English striker made no mistake, firing in his 30th goal of the season.
D.C United, who finished top of the East in the regular season, went close on the hour when a dipping drive from Argentine Fabian Espindola flashed just over the bar.
But that was one of the few real chances created by Ben Olsen’s team who never got into top gear against a confident New York.
D.C keeper Bill Hamid pulled off a fine double save in the 68th minute to deny Lloyd Sam and then Wright-Phillips as the Red Bulls piled on the pressure.
New York got their deserved second in the 74th minute when Henry lifted a ball over the top to his compatriot Peguy Luyindula and the veteran former Paris St Germain midfielder coolly slotted through the legs of the oncoming Hamid.
Dax McCarty should have made it 3-0 but, left unmarked in the area, he flashed his free header wide.
The second-leg at United’s RFK Stadium will be played on Saturday.
FC Dallas host Seattle Sounders in the Western Conference later on Sunday.
Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Greg Stutchbury