Red Bulls Ryan Meara plays first competitive minutes in months

(Image, New York Red Bulls website)

(Image, New York Red Bulls website)

The New York Red Bulls knew Ryan Meara was a tough character after the rookie snatched the vacant starting spot at goalkeeper to start the 2012 campaign. He continued to show his fortitude through three memorable months of competition.

Now, he is proving his toughness once again.

After suffering through two separate hip surgeries, Meara is one step closer to game readiness. The Fordham product earned his first professional minutes in months, playing 45 minutes in a 2-0 loss to the Crew reserves.

Ryan Finley beat Meara in the 18th minute of play. Eight minutes later, Andre Akpan nearly tied it up for the visitors but his attempt went nowhere.

The second half showed more life for the Red Bulls. Santiago Castano took over the goalkeeping duties, but Columbus would get the better of him as well. Ben Speas beat the 18 year old keeper and shut the door on the Red Bulls reserves, who are now 2-2 on the season.

Both Meara and Kevin Hartman, whom did not feature this match, saw light action in an intra-squad match last week thanks to a cancellation of their reserve game against Toronto FC.