Robles, Cahill push Red Bulls past DC and into first place

IMAGE, NEW YORK RED BULLS FACEBOOK

BY ERIC GIACOMETTI
Staff Writer

HARRISON, NJ | After being beaten by the worst of the Western Conference, a Thierry Henry-less New York Red Bulls made sure to put away DC United.

A Tim Cahill header and a key Luis Robles penalty stop helped the Red Bulls earn a 2-1 victory in front of 17,372 fans at Red Bull Arena.

“I mean it was a gritty, but gutsy performance for sure,” Head coach Mike Petke said. “With some quality mixed in there for a lot of the game. Yeah, especially when we went down a man it was difficult on these guys, but gutsy performance. They really put everything they had out there.”

Petke shook things up following last week’s loss to Chivas USA, removing Henry after a midweek scuffle while adding Bradley Wright-Phillips, David Carney and Lloyd Sam to the starting XI.

The moves paid almost immediate dividends as New York got off the mark in just the 8th minute.  After captain Tim Cahill was seemingly fouled in the box, Sam picked up the pieces and sent a chip over United keeper Bill Hamid that caromed off the post and over the line for a goal.

“I just try to do the best that I can do when I’m on the pitch,” Sam stated.  “I’m happy.  I mean, I’ve not had that many games, as you guys know… I was saying that good things will happen when you start me at home, so I had to kind of back up my talk.”

While the Red Bulls created most of the chances, DC managed to find the equalizer in the 36th minute.  Former New York midfielder Dwayne De Rosario found an unmarked Nick DeLeon at the back post.  The man who knocked New York out of the playoffs a year ago victimized debutant David Carney and slotted home for the easy goal.

The match remained level for only a few short minutes, however, as Cahill continued his trend of quickly answering opposing goals.  Just two minutes later, Johnny Steele found space on the left wing a sent a cross towards the Australian international.  Cahill made no mistake with his chance, crossing up Hamid with a header and staking New York to a 2-1 lead.

On a night where his son sang the national anthem, Cahill added his own spectacle to the evening.

“Honestly, I didn’t sleep last night at all… for me it was one of the most special days of my life,” said an aching Cahill.  “In the end, a complete performance by the team, and that’s what we’re all about.  We’re a team that should leave everything on the pitch.”

Both managers were forced to go to their benches early, as Jared Jeffrey and Brandon Barklage were withdrawn due to injury concerns, leaving both teams with just two subs to make in the final 45.

As it turned out, Petke was in need of all three as Cahill picked up a knock to his right ankle, forcing him off the pitch and out of the Australian national team plans as they get set to take on Brazil.

With Jamison Olave starting the match on the bench, Ibrahim Sekagya was again deployed on the backline.  And for the second straight week, he conceded a penalty, this time earning a red card for his troubles.  After a miscommunication with Luis Robles, Sekagya dragged down De Rosario to earn DC United a spot kick.  But as he’s done again several times in 2013, Robles was up to the task as he parried away De Rosario’s low shot on frame.

Despite the game-saving stop, Robles was still critical of the manner in which the penalty was conceded.

“The penalty kick situation, I guess I’m a little upset about,” said a regretful Robles. “We didn’t communicate properly and unfortunately we had to endure that, and now we’re missing a guy.”

Nevertheless, New York picked up three hard-earned points at home to close out a roller coaster August. With the win, the Red Bulls are once again tied atop the Eastern Conference. 

New York now look forward to another vital fixture; a road match against perennial Eastern Conference contenders, the Houston Dynamo.

  • Matt Rasmussen

    Gotta say I’m tired of Sekagya fouling inside the box.