Cahill, Robles will New York Red Bulls past Columbus 1-0

(Image, New York Red Bulls facebook)

(Image, New York Red Bulls facebook)

Two weeks ago, New York Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke proclaimed he no longer cared how beautiful the play was, so long as his team won. It was a throwback declaration akin to his predecessor Hans Backe who dubbed the philosophy “cynical soccer.”

On the world stage of football, it’s called “winning ugly,” and the Red Bulls are certainly doing just that.

New York rode the heroics of Tim Cahill and Luis Robles to earn their third road victory in a row, sneaking out of Columbus with a 1-0 win. They are now on an impressive 4-1 run through their last five matches which puts them in command of first in the Eastern Conference.

“I mean, three in a row, very, very happy about that,” Petke said. “We played against a good team today and I think defensively we did some very good stuff, exactly to our game plan.”

The first half left much to be desired from both teams, but it was Columbus who earned the better of their chances. While well covered through most of the match, Crew playmaker Federico Higuain did test New York early with some impressive distribution, including an early game dish to an on-rushing Josh Williams which sailed high on net.

A well defended corner kick by New York in the 28th minute saw Higuain meet a bouncing ball by the edge of the box. The Argentine playmaker took a deft touch to the ball, sending a controlled feed to Dominic Oduro who’s blast went wide of Robles.

While Higuain tried to open space on attack, Arrieta aimed at creating his own with perhaps the best chance of the first half. The Costa Rican forward snaked his way between a pair of defenders and sent a toe poke wide of Robles.

“We knew that Higuain would be the one to punish us, and Arrieta as well, but we didn’t give Higuain enough time on the ball; we didn’t give him the pockets that he’s used to running in to,” Petke said.

The Red Bulls best chance of the half came from the eventual game winner. In a replay of last week, Cahill found himself trailing at the top of the box. A right wing feed was dummied by Jonny Steele but Cahill’s shot sailed high into the stands.

The second half saw more pressure from the Crew. With Williams in their 18 yard area, a dangerous dish out wide was directed to an on-rushing Eddie Gaven. Brandon Barklage took a late, ill-advised tackle on the runner sending Gaven to the ground.

With a penalty called, Luis Robles stared down Higuain. He read the stutter step, guessed right, and got all of the attempt to keep New York in the match.

“He was huge for us, even aside from the penalty save, which was unbelievable,” Petke said. “Robles was big, he was commanding in the box, and he controlled the tempo of the game at times which is huge for a goalkeeper.”

The Red Bulls would pay Robles back for his efforts. With the game drawing to a close, an innocent cross from the right wing side was flicked to the far post by Tim Cahill. Steele met the feed and sent a screamer into the chest of Andy Gruenebaum. Never losing sight of the ball, Cahill jumped to it and headed a feathered attempt that sailed just out of the keeper’s reach and into the back of the net for the game winning goal. It is Cahill’s third goal in two matches.

“Johnny took a great strike and the keeper reacted with a save, but after seeing the keeper off the line, I just lobbed it over him with an instinctive header,” Cahill recounted. “Overall, it’s a good reward for a hard day’s work.”

“What more can I say that I don’t say after every weekend?” Petke said. “He’s huge for us, I’m excited for him, I’m excited for the team, and he’s done a great job.”

Though far from a dominating performance, the Red Bulls coach couldn’t be happier with the result.

“While it probably was not the most beautiful game to watch at home, I could care less; it’s three points.”

New York heads home to face the Montreal Impact this Wednesday in a midweek battle for first place.

  • alex

    second time with the “i could care less”
    Will someone please tell him the saying is, “i couldn’t care less?

  • Cahill, Robles will New York Red Bulls past Columbus 1-0 http://t.co/NEoDmV6bsb #rbny #crew96 #MLS

  • Maybe he could say – I could care less…in a way