Preview: Crew visit New York for important East showdown
NEW YORK RED BULLS vs COLUMBUS CREW
RED BULL ARENA, Harrison, N.Y.
September 15, 2012 (WEEK 28, MLS Game #265)
7 p.m. ET (MSG; FS-OH)
The New York Red Bulls and Columbus Crew meet in a real six-pointer as the Eastern Conference clubs face off Saturday evening at Red Bull Arena (live chat on MLSsoccer.com, 7 pm ET). The Red Bulls haven’t lost in four games, coming off a 2-2 draw with D.C. United in their last match, and still sit in second place in the division. But they are just four points ahead of fifth-place Columbus, which fell into the final postseason berth in the conference following a 2-0 loss at New England last week that put an end to a four-game winning streak.
REFEREE: Abbey Okulaja. AR1 (bench): Adam Garner; AR2 (opposite): Scott Kachmarik; 4th: Jose Carlos Rivero
MLS Career: 115 games; FC/gm: 26.7; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 19; pens: 26
- NEW YORK RED BULLS – OUT: GK Ryan Meara (hip injury)
- COLUMBUS CREW – OUT: FW Tommy Heinemann (L knee surgery); GK William Hesmer (R hip surgery); MF Bernardo Anor (L knee ACL tear); DF Carlos Mendes (R hamstring strain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Danny O'Rourke (L ankle sprain); DF Rich Balchan (sports hernia rehab); PROBABLE: FW Jairo Arrieta (R ankle contusion)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: NY: Joel Lindpere … CLB: Chris Birchall
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: NY: Kenny Cooper, Connor Lade, Victor Palsson … CLB: Bernardo Anor, Tony Tchani, Sebastian Miranda, Dilly Duka, Danny O’Rourke
ALL-TIME (53 meetings): Red Bulls 23 wins, 72 goals … Crew 23 wins, 63 goals … Ties 7
AT NEW YORK (26 meetings): Red Bulls 13 wins, 35 goals … Crew 9 wins, 26 goals … Ties 4
4/7: CLB 1, NY 4 (Cooper 3, 13; Henry 40, 90 – Marshall 89)
- The teams are meetings for the second time this season. On April 7 at Crew Stadium, a pair of goals from both Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper led the Red Bulls to a 4-1 victory.
- The Red Bulls snapped a four-game winless streak vs. Crew. The teams played to a pair of draws in their two meetings a year ago; Columbus won both meetings in 2010.
- It was also New York’s first win in Columbus since a 2-0 win July 19, 2006. The Crew had won five of the seven meetings in between on their home ground, with two draws.
- Coaches record: Hans Backe vs. CLB: P5 W1 L2 D2 … Robert Warzycha vs. NY: P9 W4 L3 D2
HIGHLIGHTS: CLB vs NY
- The Red Bulls took the lead after just three minutes when Kenny Cooper out-muscled Crew central defender Eric Gehrig for a lofted ball from Thierry Henry and slotted a left-footed shot into the bottom right corner.
- Ten minutes later, Cooper bagged his second goal of the afternoon when a deflected shot found the Red Bulls striker inside the Crew's six-yard box, and he looped a header out of goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum's reach and over the goal line.
- Henry extended New York's lead to 3-0 just before halftime, leading a counterattack and slotting home to the far post around Gruenebaum.
- The Crew scored in the 89th minute when midfielder Kirk Urso drove in a corner kick and center back Chad Marshall headed home from close range.
- Henry restored New York's three-goal lead with his second goal just moments later, collecting a Joel Lindpere pass and striking an easy shot from 15 yards into the upper right corner.
- COLUMBUS CREW (4-1-3-2): Andy Gruenebaum - Sebastian Miranda (Aaron Schoenfeld 75), Chad Marshall, Eric Gehrig, Shaun Francis - Kirk Urso - Eddie Gaven (Ethan Finlay 55), Milovan Mirosevic, Bernardo Anor (Dilly Duka 57) - Emilio Renteria, Olman Vargas.
- NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-4-2): Ryan Meara - Jan Gunnar Solli, Stephen Keel, Markus Holgersson, Roy Miller - Dane Richards (Joel Lindpere 80), Dax McCarty, Rafa Marquez, Mehdi Ballouchy - Kenny Cooper, Thierry Henry.
NEW YORK RED BULLS
The New York Red Bulls return to action after more than two weeks off, their last match a 2-2 draw with D.C. United on Aug. 29 at RFK Stadium. The Red Bulls are in second place in the Eastern Conference, with 46 points from 27 games.
WATCH: HIGHLIGHTS: DC vs NY
- The score was 1-1 midway through the first half as both teams found the net just two minutes apart. Joel Lindpere snuck behind United’s right side in the 19th minute and ran onto a creative one-touch ball from Thierry Henry to beat United ‘keeper Bill Hamid on the short side.
- But Nick DeLeon answered as he hooked home a lovely volley in the 21st minute off a chip over the top from Dwayne De Rosario, the rookie’s touch from inside the area bouncing into the corner past Red Bulls goalkeeper Bill Gaudette.
- De Rosario netted his historic 100th league goal in the 68th minute on an athletic header. DeLeon’s fantastic service from just beyond midfield allowed the Canadian international to time his run and jump to head the ball past a closing Gaudette from the edge of the area.
- But the Red Bulls had the last answer two minutes from time off a corner kick. A Dax McCarty cross was only half-cleared, the ball falling at the top of the area for Wilman Conde, and he promptly blasted a laser past Hamid for the equalizer.
- Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe made two changes that gained a 1-1 draw with Sporting Kansas City at Livestrong Sporting Park. Joel Lindpere and Thierry Henry came into the team, replacing Sebastien Le Toux and Kenny Cooper.
- NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-4-2): Bill Gaudette - Connor Lade, Heath Pearce, Markus Holgersson, Wilman Conde - Jan Gunnar Solli (Kenny Cooper 83), Teemu Tainio (Sebastien Le Toux 75), Dax McCarty, Joel Lindpere (Lloyd Sam 83) - Tim Cahill, Thierry Henry.
- Starting and playing the full 90 minutes for a fifth consecutive appearance in MLS, Tim Cahill was set out as an underneath forward, behind Thierry Henry.
- “Even if you put him on central midfield, he will end up as more of a second striker, even with the pressing game when we defend but also as a late runner in the attacking game,” said Backe. “That was not really the plan to just play him as a striker but his running and work ethic, he will adapt as a striker in many, many attacks.”
- Henry returned to the Red Bulls lineup after missing the Kansas City due to the birth of his son and recorded his eighth assist, tied for ninth-most in the league.
- “I think they were going to rob three points, for my liking,” Henry said. “I thought we passed the ball way better than them today, we played way better than them. But somehow they came back into the game. We were not in any type of danger, we had the ball, we were creating, playing through the lines, going on the wings, crossing and then suddenly you find yourself in a bad position. Saying that, we didn’t also deserve to win [in a 3-2 win over Portland on Aug. 19], so sometimes it goes your way, sometimes it doesn’t go your way.”
- Wilman Conde played his second consecutive game at left back and contributed his first goal with the Red Bulls.
- “Wilman [Conde] has played phenomenal two games as a left back,” said Backe. “[Markus] Holgersson, [Heath] Pearce has played most of the games now as center backs. Connor [Lade] playing as a sometimes wide left, right fullback, he’s very versatile. [Brandon] Barklage is back. He’ll pick up the fight, of course. Roy [Miller] is with the Costa Rican national team.”
- Said Henry: “I guess it was his birthday and something was going to go well for him today. Thankfully for us we got back into the game. I’m not very happy about the way we tied. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the goal was amazing but we shouldn’t have been 2-1 down.”
- Lloyd Sam was given his Red Bulls and MLS debut, coming on for the final seven minutes in a wide midfield role.
- “I call it a quick taste into the MLS [and] it’s good that the coach brought me in for that little bit because if I went into this break without playing, it would have just been a different feeling,” Sam said. “Now that I’ve gotten on the pitch, I’m here just getting fit. That’s my main problem: just getting fit. So this break came at a great time, right after a little 10-minute spell.”
- Said Backe: “I don’t think he will be able to start yet. I think definitely he still can be a guy, he played 15 minutes now [and] he’s been training the whole week with our fitness coach, he had no break, so I think 20, 25 minutes probably.”
- After starting eight consecutive matches since his arrival from Vancouver, alternating between a wide midfield spot and as an out-and-out striker, Sebastien Le Toux came off the substitutes’ bench in D.C.
- “Sometimes if you play Sébastien wide, then normally you almost play a 4-3-3 because attacking wise, he will always be in a high position, so it’s just a game of numbers in a way,” Backe said. “Every time we talk 4-4-2 and that‘s always [ticked] me off is that that’s [called] a defending formation, but every other team that’s talk about 4-3-3, they defend even more with 4-5-1. So normally for a team as us, we should say that we play 2-4-4, and you have a new system, because that’s what we do.”
- Kenny Cooper also came off the substitutes’ bench for the final seven minutes, though he maintained his ever-present record for the season with the Red Bulls.
The Columbus Crew saw their winning streak come to an end after four games, falling 2-0 to the New England Revolution last Wednesday evening at Gillette Stadium. The Crew sit in fifth place in the Eastern Conference with 42 points from 27 games.
WATCH: HIGHLIGHTS: NE vs CLB
- The Revolution opened the scoring nine minutes after the second-half restart. Diego Fagundez hit the near post in the wake of Flo Lechner's throw-in, but Imbongo timed his run well to sweep home the loose ball on the edge of the goal area after Fagundez scrambled the rebound free.
- The lead was doubled when Crew defender Chad Marshall headed into his own net 14 minutes later. A long hoof forward from Matt Reis and a headed flick from Chris Tierney put the Crew under pressure, and Marshall lofted his attempted clearance from the top of the box over goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum and into the net.
- Crew head coach Robert Warzycha made no changes to the team that got a late winner for a 2-1 win against the Montréal Impact at Crew Stadium.
- COLUMBUS CREW (4-2-3-1): Andy Gruenebaum - Sebastian Miranda, Danny O'Rourke, Chad Marshall, Nemanja Vukovic - Chris Birchall (Josh Williams 64), Milovan Mirosevic (Tony Tchani 69) - Eddie Gaven, Federico Higuain, Dilly Duka (Emilio Renteria 75) - Jairo Arrieta.
WATCH: Taking the Lead: Chad Marshall
- The loss in New England capped a three-week stretch where the Crew played twice in each week, and ended a 21-day span where they played seven games.
- “We did a good job of getting the points in this period,” Crew coach Robert Warzycha said. “This is a game you look at that we should win, but that’s what happens in soccer.”
- Said midfielder Eddie Gaven: “[Wednesday] obviously didn’t go well for us, but over the past six or seven games we went on a good run there. We can take a break after having a busy last month or so, and hopefully we can make a run for the playoffs.”
- The Crew lost for the first time in seven games, since a 1-0 loss at D.C. United on Aug. 4, which was also the last time they were shut out offensively.
- “One team that has a pretty good record in the last few games and one was winless for 10 games … which team was worse? To be honest with you, that’s what happens in MLS,” Warzycha said. “You never know what the next game is going to look like. We have seven games left and we are hoping to get to playoffs, but we definitely have to play better than this.”
- “We have to have that long-term (positive) perspective, that this past month or so the team’s been on a very good run. We’ve been able to go from being in seventh place and being out of the playoff picture, to right on the edge now in a pretty decent spot for the final push,” said Gaven. “I think the team definitely has a very positive mindset still, even after this loss.”
- Federico Higuaín had his five-game streak of being involved in a goal come to an end. Higuaín had three goals and six assists, and was been involved in at least one goal in each of his first five games in the league.
- “You could see when Higuaín would get the ball, we were on him, and he started to drift wider and we knew to take him there,” Revolution coach Jay Heaps said after the match.
- “(Federico Higuain and Jairo Arrieta) just make us more dynamic going forward. It puts the other teams on their heels a little bit, and it gives me space to run behind,” said Gaven. “It’s been fun for me, and pretty much fun for every other guy on the team in this run.”
- Warzycha maintained the same group that came back for the win vs. Montréal, even with fullback Josh Williams again available after suspension. Williams came on for the final 26 minutes.
- “You always know more after the game,” Warzycha said. “Overall, if we talk about the last seven games, we should be happy about how many games we won and how many points we got.”