Afterwards in the locker room Thierry Henry claimed to be sad. Admittedly he was speaking about his reaction to Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement – a subject on which he was as voluble as his team mate Tim Cahill was terse (a sharp "no comment") about the prospect of David Moyes as Ferguson's replacement. But speaking after the spectacular second of his two goals had onlookers recalling the Henry who had once tormented Ferguson's teams, Henry, ever the perfectionist, dwelt as much on his irritation that the Montreal Impact had been allowed to pull back a goal in injury time and come close to snatching a late equalizer.
The Red Bulls saw out the game though to top the East, but their visitors, playing their third game in a week, gave as good as they got throughout and sit just three points behind the leaders with three games in hand.
Elsewhere, a packed midweek schedule, with several clashes between early frontrunners, promised to either stretch out or compress the conference standings heading into another busy weekend. Houston Dynamo, who have newly discovered the joys of winning on the road, managed what other teams struggle with by coming off a West coast victory in LA and winning an East Coast fixture a few days later – crushing DC United 4-0, with Will Bruin scoring two and generally running riot. The result gave Houston a share of the Eastern lead and left DC and coach Ben Olsen hopelessly adrift at the bottom of the East. They're winless in seven.
Yet DC are only three points behind Toronto FC, where the enormity of the task facing coach Ryan Nelsen may be beginning to dawn on him. Toronto's late game slumps are becoming as predictable as San Jose Earthquake's late game comebacks. On Wednesday night, the two intersected predictably with Chris Wondolowski getting an equally predictable late winner, even if he hasn't looked as dominant as last season.
Speaking of slumps since last season, Seattle Sounders have become this season's LA Galaxy — a team who people assume are going to kick into gear at some point, but who seem to keep deferring that point. Did it arrive last night? Possibly. While Sporting Kanas City were focussed on welcoming back Kei Kamara (who made a substitute's appearance to a big reception) and perhaps building on their destruction of Chivas USA at the weekend, Seattle stole the points, as Djimi Traore, having starred in Seattle's previous high point of the season against Tigres, stunned Sporting with an injury time winner.
There was late drama too in Foxboro, where New England Revolution held a 1-0 lead going into the 77th minute against Real Salt Lake, only to concede two late goals and miss an even later penalty, as RSL moved back into second in the West. In doing so they quietly split the two surprise Western contenders this season, in Portland Timbers and FC Dallas, who ended up cancelling each other out in Frisco, though not before the Timbers had taken a second half lead. Kenny Cooper pulled Dallas level with a penalty, and while Dallas won't be happy to have dropped their first home points of the season, they'll probably be reasonably content that they have now gone eight games unbeaten, as have Portland. Dallas will hardly be daunted by their next visitors either – DC are there this weekend, hoping not to make it eight games since their last win.
Thierry Henry on Sir Alex Ferguson
I think everybody's sad. Everybody's sad for the game. What a boss, what a legend. What he did for the game...I have no words to describe what Sir Alex has done for the game. It's just mind-blowing. You're catching me off guard because I only heard this morning like everybody else. But, what a legend — that's all I can say. I've been fighting against his teams for a very long time, and I've only respect for that man. What I always remember was when he came along and he said he wanted to pass Liverpool. To say it before it he did it — it's not like he did it and then said, "Oh that's what I had at the back of my mind" — he said it before. He said "my aim is to pass Liverpool" and he did, so you have to give him credit for what he did at that club. Just an outstanding career. Sir Alex. Legend.