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Angel and Cepero help lead Red Bulls to victory


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Juan Pablo Angel scored a pair of goals and Danny Cepero had the best debut a goalkeeper could possibly want, scoring a goal and helping the Red Bulls post a 3-1 victory on Saturday night.

Yes, that’s right, Cepero scored a goal. from 80 yards away. On a free kick from the other side of the field.

The clutch victory means the Red Bulls can secure a playoff berth with a victory against the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park on Thursday night.

Facing a Columbus squad missing several starters who were rested by coach Sigi Schmid, the Red Bulls controlled the action for most of the 90 minutes, but looked in danger of falling short of the three points until Angel delivered his second goal of the night in the 76th minute. The lead expanded to 3-1 just seven minutes later when Cepero boomed a free kick from 81 yards away from the goal that took a hard bounce in the Crew penalty area before bouncing over a helpless Andy Gruenebaum.

The improbable goal made Cepero the first goalkeeper in MLS history to score a goal and cinched a victory the Red Bulls desperately needed.

With the exception of Columbus’ goal, a header off a Guillermo Barros Schelotto free kick that saw two Red Bulls lose their marks on Steven Lenhart’s goal, the Red Bulls played one of their best games of the season. The defense held firm, the midfield created chances, and the forward trio Angel, Kandji and Matt Mbuta.

Angel showed once again why he is widely considered the best striker in MLS, finishing off a pair of quality chances to give the Red Bulls the lead an push his goal tally to 13 on the season, with 11 coming after the all-star break.

While Angel was the stary, Cepero was the story. Aside from his surprising goal, Cepero also showed poise in the net, making a pair of quality saves and displaying quickness and confidence in his first career MLS match.

Newcomers Macoumba Kandji and Matt Mbuta also looked good playing as the wide forwards in a 4-3-3 that helped maximize Angel’s effectiveness. Kandji set up Angel’s first goal by forcing a turnover and laying off a perfect pass to Angel. Mbuta provided speed and energy on the right flank, while also showing an ability to create chances for himself.

The Red Bulls defense played well despite the absence of Jeff Parke. The foursome of Kevin Goldthwaite, Diego Jimenez, Andrew Boyens and Chris Leitch has played together three times and put together a third quality performance. After shutting out Houston and D.C. United, that back-line did well to limit the number of quality chances the Crew could find in the run of play.

Now the Red Bulls must turn their attention to Thursday night’s match at Toyota Park against the Chicago Fire. A win will clinch a playoff spot for the Red Bulls, who will need some help to qualify if it ties or loses. It remains unclear whether the Fire will do what the Crew did and rest key starters, but you have to believe that whoever plays for Chicago will be eager for the chance to eliminate the Red Bulls from playoff contention.

That said, you have to like the Red Bulls chances considering how they responded to this week’s distractions and adversity.

What did you think of Saturday night’s Red Bulls performance? Which players impressed you? Do you think the Red Bulls can do what it takes to reach the playoffs?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Shakes: Things were easier to figure out when Ives used to have a reference to “New Jerey flavor” in the subtitle to his site.

  2. Man of the Match – Juan Pablo Angel

    Other Heroes – Danny Cepero, Seth Stammler, Dave van Den Bergh, Kevin Goldthwaite, Chris Leitch, Mac Kandji

    Good team effort. The team needs this momentum to carry over to Thursday’s match in Chicago.

    For the Red Bulls to leave exclusively in its own hands qualifying for the playoffs it will need to do what it has done only once this year — and not since MAY 10th –which is WIN on the road. Given that the team loses the tie-breaker to BOTH Colorado and Kansas City, it is really important for New York to win Thursday night.

  3. great win and a great crowd last night. hope we can keep some momentum for what will surely be a tough match on thursday night.

    i know its not gonna happen, but it doesn’t mean i can’t campaign for it: JPA for MVP! i don’t know where we’d be w/out him. just hope that he’s back next year for us.

  4. @Joe D

    I wasn’t complaining about it. I’ve been coming here for four months or so, and I simply noticed how much coverage Red Bull gets. Never thought to ask about it until now.

    Thanks for letting me know he lives in NJ though. That explains it.

    – Scott

  5. Shakes, you really don’t know why Ives covers the Red Bulls? He’s based in Jersey and he’s covered the team for as long as I can remember. If anything, I think he covers the team less than he used to on this site so it’s funny to hear someone actually complain about all the Red Bulls coverage.

  6. While it was a cool goal, the bounce on that goal was the kind of thing that could only happen on carpeted concrete. You would never see that kind of height on a grass surface.

    Not to go off on a tangent, but I’ve always wondered – what is with the largely Red Bulls-centric story ratio here, Ives?

    Is it because you live in New York? Is RBNY just your favourite club? I’ve always wondered, because I bet about 40-50 percent of all stories here involve New York.

    Don’t take me the wrong way – I like your MLS coverage, and you’re certainly free to cover whatever you want. I’ve just wondered this for a while now.

    – Scott

  7. Well Red Bulls still alive for know, but Mr.OSORIO must GO!!! he is not a coach for this team or any other at MLS, plus he is not a loyal person, hope Chicago make a good work with him next Thursday.

    Sorry for Angel and the rest of team if not make playoff.

    Mr.OSORIO must go next year, that will be the best for the team and us the fans.

  8. Sigi figured there’s nothing left to play for in the season, so why get Marshall, Hejduk, Moreno, or Hesmer hurt. If Schelotto wasn’t working his way back from injury, he likely wouldn’t have played either.

    Cepero’s goal was a once-in-a-lifetime shot, and pretty cool for a kid making his debut. Though I would’ve like The Crew to win, you can’t help but be happy about that shot, even if they oughta give an assist to the Giants Stadium turf!

  9. Geoff, I thought the same thing at first, but then realized there isn’t too many teams that can match Columbus’ height. They have some big guys running around there, and some of them didn’t even play last night. The Crew have made a killing on set pieces this year, and last night was no exception.

  10. I’m not a Red Bulls fan, but I’m glad that they managed to put together a nice victory on a day when they had a big crowd.

  11. I had a feeling they would rally around this situation, and I think they’ll make it in. Not sure about the “one of their best games of the season” comment though. Well, maybe, if only b/c there haven’t been too many of those this year.

    It was a gutty performance, but it’s painfully clear that the only 2 starters with any class on the ball are JPA and DVDB. The latter I thought quietly had another great game.

    Kandji had a nice play on the first goal, and toasted someone really bad in the second half for some entertainment value, but I guess with all the hype I expected more.

    Defense was OK, though it’s a little scary when they switch to a 3-5-2 and Leitch is back there, b/c of his lack of height.

    Ives, is Cichero hurt or still in the doghouse? If he was available and in form, you would think he, and not Mendes, would have been the third sub.

  12. I take it Schelloto and Kevin Burns must have mentally left themselves at the Wal-Mart in Secaucus. I should have taken a picture it would have made a quality create your own headline section.

  13. fluke or not it was a goal

    Anyway if your a goalie you shouldnt be getting scored on like that, Gruenbueam should of had that

    But being at the game was great such an aweosome way to end the season at home, hopefully the Bulls will make the playoffs

  14. I thought it was very classy of JCO to acknowledge the crowd after the game. Danny Cepero, thank you for some trivia quiz answers.

  15. I was at the game and what surprised me was the lack of height the Red Bulls had whether it was defending set pieces or attacking set pieces. I think Columbus must have won every ball in the air. Of course with the players that New York has, their strength is not the route one air game, it’s passing the ball around on the deck. But apart from set pieces the Red Bulls never looked like losing the match. Had the Columbus first team been playing it could very well have been different. The third Bulls goal (the eighty yard wonder) was also so fluke. If that was grass instead of turf that wouldn’t have been a goal.


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