Red Bulls Stumble, Fall to Crew in Home Finale

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by ERIC GIACOMETTI
Staff Writer

The postseason is a certainty for the New York Red Bulls, but having their captain grace the pitch of Red Bull Arena one more time is anything but.

Despite that narrative, and with an opportunity to climb the table in the Eastern Conference, New York dug themselves an early hole that they could not climb out of, dropping a 3-1 result to the playoff-bound Columbus Crew.

At the start of the match, the Red Bulls had a chance to inch closer to the second seed in the East. Now, a one-off play-in game may be in New York’s future as just one regular season match remains in the 2014 regular season.

“Not many teams, if any, come in and boss us around like that,” said a despondent Petke. “They certainly did.”

From the onset, the Red Bulls looked to get on the front foot and continue their scintillating home form. League-leading goal scorer Bradley Wright-Phillips saw several chances go begging throughout the match, as his pursuit of the all-time single-season record now looks to be in serious doubt.

Despite the early chances, it was Columbus who would open the scoring in the 18th minute through Aaron Schonefeld. The Crew forward struggled to corral an Ethan Finlay cross from the wing, but managed to find his footing and fire past a helpless Luis Robles.

The provider Finlay then turned goal scorer fifteen minutes later as the Crew doubled their lead. Former Red Bull Tony Tchani made a driving run up the field and released Finlay into the box, where he made no mistake with the finish.

Coming out of the locker rom, New York continued to press in search of their first goal, and found just that in 58th minute. Winger Lloyd Sam collected a pass out wide and cut inside before blasting his shot past Crew goalkeeper Steve Clark.

As the second half ticked on, New York seemed to grow in confidence as they consistently tested the Columbus defense. But they would be made to pay for their wasteful tendencies as Schoenfeld restored the Crew’s two-goal lead in the 80th minute. After playmakers Federico Higuan and Finlay combined on the movement, an unmarked Schonefeld bagged his brace and his third goal of his campaign.

“Credit to them,” Sam said. “They’ve done everything right. They beat us in every part of the game.”

The Red Bulls return to league play on Sunday as they travel to Sporting Kansas City to finish off their 2014 season.

  • Sam U El

    With such a poor performance there’s no doubt they’ll use it as motivation to win the MLS Cup.

  • NYsoccerfan

    I thought all the post-game comments by Petke, BWP, etc were pretty fair i.e. they were garbage.

    Disappointing but it’s good to get this sort of game out of the way.

    Is it me or does Henry look tired? Maybe rest him next game and bring in Cahill…