Crew end Red Bulls unbeaten streak with 2-0 win

IMAGE, NEW YORK RED BULLS FACEBOOK

BY ERIC GIACOMETTI
Staff Writer

So much for momentum.

After solid performances against top sides such as Real Salt Lake, Sporting KC, and Montreal, the Red Bulls laid an egg in a disappointing road performance against the lowly Crew. Without the star power provided by Thierry Henry (a late scratch due to achilles inflamation) and Tim Cahill, New York struggled to create offensive chances to test the Crew defense.  Meanwhile, it was the Crew’s star forward Federico Higuain who proved to be the difference as his brace paced Columbus to a 2-0 win.

“I think that we didn’t come with the right mentality and as a result we put ourselves behind the eight ball,” replacement head coach Robin Fraser explained. “But to be fair, we hung in there, plugging along, trying to find a way forward and obviously a disappointing goal to give up.”

From the first whistle, Columbus took control of the match.  Registering a clear advantage in shots and possession, New York struggled to find the flow of the match and never truly tested Crew goalkeeper Matt Lampson.

After being ejected late in the match against Kansas City, head coach Mike Petke was forced to take in the proceedings from the skyboxes at Crew Stadium.  That meant that assistant coach Robin Frasier took the helm for a short-handed New York squad.

After a scoreless first half, vice-captain Markus Holgersson was whistled for a foul in the area in the 61st minute and the Crew’s Argentine striker beat Luis Robles for the second time this season from the penalty spot.   Fifteen minutes later, the Crew hit the release valve to break some late New York pressure as Higuain’s chip caught Robles cheating to double the Crew advantage.

Robles, who put in one of his best performances of the season, made brilliant stop after brilliant stop in the first half, denying the likes of Dominic Oduro and Jairo Arrieta on several occasions. 

“I was really surprised on how the second half went,” Robles noted. “The first half we came out with a game plan too. We knew that we were on the road and we didn’t want to sit too far back, but at times we did, that was the way the game dictated it. In the second half, once that penalty got called on us, it just completely changed the whole scope of the game.

“I think from our standpoint, we just have to react better and understand that some calls are going to go our way and some aren’t – but regardless, it’s about how we react to it.”

For all his heroics between the sticks it wasn’t enough as the Red Bulls were shut out for the seventh time this season.

The loss combined with a Real Salt Lake victory and a Sporting KC win puts New York three points out of the top spot for the MLS Supporter’s Shield. They sit three behind RSL and one behind Sporting. Looking ahead, New York will return to Harrison next week as they take on the Philadelphia Union in another crucial Eastern Conference clash. The Union currently sit one point behind New York in the Easter Conference.

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