This was a fantastic match that had a lot of pace & action going on the field for both sides. But while the Red Bulls couldn’t convert all their chances, all the Columbus Crew needed were two and they punished New York with two quick goals within a four minute span.
35th minute Frankie Hejduk attacked down the right flank and had numbers with him. A solid cross from the surfer boy towards Eddie Gaven who took two steps to avoid his defender and a solid header past Bouna Coundoul for the one goal to nil lead. Then in the 39th minute the Crew took their second corner on the left side and Gaven became a helper as he found Andy Iro who also avoided his defender and put a header on the ball when he leapt for the two goals to nil lead. The Crew took that score line into the half and they were prepared for a relentless wave of an attack from the Red Bulls.
The final goal in the coffin for the Red Bulls was a mistake by both central defenders in veteran Mike Petke & rookie Tim Ream. As the ball bounced it looked like it was well played, but the classic miss-communication happened with both players as it looked to be “You take it, I got it” happened, and the one who took charge was Columbus substitute Emilio Renteria who charged the net and got Coundoul to bite. He slotted the ball in the net and for the Crew and their 80 visiting supporters; they would take the bus back to Columbus, Ohio with three points in the bag and first place in the Eastern Conference.
For the Red Bulls they played a very good match as well. They were just unfortunate that they had four to five solid chances to get on the scoreboard, but were snake bit when they nailed the posts and cross bar. After Gaven got his goal, RBNY tried to get an equalizer early in the 36th minute, but when Sinisa Ubiparipovic ripped a low hard shot it nailed the far post and the rebound shot by Seth Stammler sailed high. 50th minute Dane Richards with the tall Andy Iro on him attacks the net and got Will Hesmer to come off his line. Instead of trying to get a penalty call, Richards took a shot that was rolling into the open net but it hit the post. Then in the 61st minute New York would get a free kick just three yards from the area. Juan Pablo Angel took the free kick that bent towards goal and nailed the crossbar.
The only positive for the Red Bulls on this night was their first round draft pick Tony Tchani. He came off the bench in the 65th minute and was attacking down the middle in the midfield. 81st Minute Carlos Mendes would cross the ball in the area; Tchani leaps and heads it past Hesmer & into the net for his first professional goal in MLS. The rookie from Virginia that showed alot of promise in the rookie combine finally got his first tally and the monster of the midfield as Hans Backe called him in an US Open Cup Qualifier against the Philadelphia Union, just might get some more playing time and start.
For the Crew they have taken over first in the east & for the Red Bulls they are on a three match losing streak in league play. The friendly against Juventus on Sunday Afternoon, May 23 could be just what the doctor ordered to let loose and have some fun, before their final US Open Cup Qualifier against the Colorado Rapids on Wednesday, May 26th.