Seattle Sounders regained their three-point lead in MLS’s Western Conference as Chad Barrett stole the spotlight from captain Clint Dempsey.
Barrett touched the ball across the line in the 91st minute to give the Sounders a 2-1 win over New York Red Bulls on Sunday, although Dempsey’s penultimate shot had appeared set to hit the back of the net.
The Red Bulls had led thanks to Lloyd Sam’s first-half header but Seattle were level at home in the 69th minute after Marco Pappa produced a fine solo goal, while Barrett would secure three points in stoppage time.
“I just did it to make sure we got the three points,” Barrett said afterwards, according to MLS’s website.
“I knew I was onside. But it was going in anyway.”
Dempsey looked to have scored a stunning winner for the Sounders, with the United States international having spread the play to right-back Tyrone Mears before surging into the box to volley the resultant cross past Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles from a tight angle.
But with the ball heading towards the inside of the post, Barrett made sure of the goal by poking it across the line from less than a yard out.
Despite not being awarded the goal, Dempsey still earned plenty of plaudits.
“There’s very few people who could have put that ball on frame with their left foot going away from goal,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said.
“That’s an extremely talented skill level.”
The victory took Seattle to 26 points at the top of the Western Conference standings, three ahead of Vancouver Whitecaps, who had drawn level on Saturday.
The Red Bulls slumped to back-to-back defeats and their third in five games, as they remain third in the East with 17 points.
New England Revolution moved four points clear of the Red Bulls with a 2-2 draw in heavy rain against reigning champions Los Angeles Galaxy.
Teal Bunbury gave the Revolution the lead in front of their home fans in the fifth minute but the visitors fought back with goals from Nacho Maganto and Gyasi Zardes in the 2014 MLS Cup final rematch.
The hosts were level at the break, however, thanks to Diego Fagundez’s pin-point free-kick in the 37th minute, and neither side could produce a winning goal in the second half.
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