RBNY, SKC battle for top spot in the East

Red Bull New York and Sporting Kansas City will duke it out for first place in the Eastern Conference when the two sides meet at Sporting Park on Saturday.

Things at the top of the Eastern Conference table got much tighter after the Red Bulls and Montreal Impact picked up dramatic victories last weekend.

Sporting was on the wrong end of Montreal's positive result at the Stade Saputo as Blake Smith bagged the lone goal deep into second-half stoppage time to give the Impact a vital win.

The round of results left Kansas City at the summit of the East on 36 points, one point better than New York and Montreal.

"I think we deserved the point out of this game," SKC head coach Peter Vermes said after the defeat. "I don't say we deserved the three but we deserve a point tonight. It's unfortunate when you spend that much time in the game, working so hard and then the last second you lose. This is the business we're in."

The Red Bulls, meanwhile, held a one-goal lead over Real Salt Lake heading into the final 10 minutes of their meeting at Red Bull Arena on Saturday until Alvaro Saborio scored twice in quick succession to give the visitors the edge, but Fabian Espindola netted from the penalty spot in the 89th minute before Dax McCarty scored in the final minute of stoppage time to hand the home side the win.

"It's one of the craziest games I've ever been a part of in MLS, my career, every basically," McCarty said after the match. "You go from literally shooting yourself in the foot, asking yourself how you let them back in the game. I thought for the most part, first half, completely dominated. To go in giving up a goal with three minutes left, whatever it is, it's a gut punch, it really is. It's a tough one to take and I think we recovered okay and I promise you, other than their goals and the (Javier) Morales free kick, I can't remember our 'keeper having to make a save.

"That's a great performance against a team like Salt Lake. They score two goals off two shots in the second half and you're sitting there asking yourself how this is possible, but we got character, we have a lot of character."

It was an impressive display from the Red Bulls, but striker Thierry Henry says that the team must start to pick up points away from home, starting with the club's trip to Sporting Park on Saturday.

"I don't have any doubt of how we play at home, but away from home it's not the same team," said Henry. "So we have to manage our game away from home, play better and at home we're pretty good. But we have to play better away from home if we want to, if we make the playoffs, if we want to win this thing because you know the games away are pretty important. We know we can play well at home as we've just shown and even before that but we have to play better away from home. That's the key right now if we want to be more consistent."