Columbus Crew at New York Red Bulls: Match Night

Columbus Crew at New York Red Bulls: Match Night

Major League Soccer

Columbus Crew at New York Red Bulls: Match Night

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The New York Red Bulls are in must-win mode tonight as they face the first-place Columbus Crew needing a victory to hold on to the final MLS playoff spot (7:30pm, MSG2).

Columbus is going to make it a little easier for the Red Bulls. The Crew is resting SEVERAL key starters for tonight’s match, having already locked up the Supporter’s Shield and No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

The Red Bulls are dealing with the distraction and on-field impact of performance enhancing drug suspensions for starting goalkeeper Jon Conway and starting central defender Jeff Parke. Those losses will be tough to overcome, but the Red Bulls will have a good chance of doing that tonight.

Red Bulls goalkeeper Danny Cepero will make his first MLS start tonight and will be playing behind a defense that will be without its most consisted defender. On the bright side, the Red Bulls attack will have all hands on deck as they hope to build on last week’s road tie at Real Salt Lake.

I will be doing a running commentary throughout the match so stay tuned for that. For now, feel free to share your pre-game thoughts in the comments section below (STARTING LINEUPS after the jump and Sigi Schmid is being VERY generous to the Red Bulls):

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FINAL– Yes, this victory came against the Columbus Crew’s reserves, but considering the struggles the Red Bulls have had, and the week they just had amidst the suspension controversy, this victory could be the type of game that propels the club into a strong late run.

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FINAL– Cepero started his first game tonight and managed to turn in a historic performance that surely has fans singing his praises now.

Cepero’s goal is the first by a goalkeeper in MLS history EVER.

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FINAL- Red Bulls 3, Columbus Crew 1. WOW. Angel nets a brace and Cepero scores an insane goal. The Red Bulls regain the hold on a playoff spot.

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90th minute– Cepero’s goal was the first scored by a goalkeeper in MLS history that wasn’t on a PK.

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89th minute– The total yardage on Cepero’s goal was 81-yards from where he kicked it to net.

SAVE CEPERO!!

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87th minute– Gaven came in for Noonan a minute ago and now Duncan Oughton has come in for Brian Carroll.

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85th minute– I really can’t believe what I just saw. Insane.

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84th minute– Cepero just sent a long free kick toward the Crew goal and it bounced and went over the head of Gruenebaum. A 63-yard goal. WOW.

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83rd minute– GOAL RED BULLSS. And it was DANNY CEPERO with the long free kick goal. WOW

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83rd minute– Van Den Bergh and Noonan given yellows for some jawing.

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79th minute– Carlos Mendes is in for Mike Magee to sure up the central midfield defensively.

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78th minute– Angel latches onto a loose ball in the area, chests it down, and blasts it from 15 yards out. WOW. Red Bulls 2, Crew 1. Stammler and Van Den Bergh.

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76th minute- GOAL RED BULLS!!!! ANGEL AGAIN with a beautiful side-volley.

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74th minute– Ekpo misses a free header from close range.

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72nd minute– Now Garey is coming in for Lenhart.

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71st minute– Tonight’s attendance is 18,546.

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71st minute– Red Bulls are switching to a 3-5-2.

Richards with a close-range shot but it’s blocked.

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69th minute– Rojas is coming in for Jimenez.

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68th minute– Red Bulls look a little frazzled right now. They’re feeling the pressure.

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67th minute– Richards is in now.

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65th minute– Dane Richards is coming in for Mbuta shortly.

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64th minute– Looks like Boyens lost his mark on the free kick that Lenhart headed in. We’re tied 1-1.

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62nd minute- GOAL CREW. Steven Lenhart scores the goal

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62nd minute– Jason Garey is coming in for Steven Lenhart for Columbus

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61st minute– Red Bulls controlling things at this point, looking for an insurance goal.

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53rd minute– Hendrickson gets the yellow for a late challenge on Kandji. Van Den Bergh with some great work to track back and stop a Crew attack.

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52nd minute– Mbuta has been very impressive tonight. Sort of like Dane Richards with a harder shot (though not quite as fast).

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51st minute– Angel is back on the field. Crisis averted.

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49th minute– Kandji stripped Andy Iro and slid a perfect pass into the path of Angel, who beat Gruenebaum to the ball.

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48th minute– Angel hurt his knee on the goal celebration so the enthusiasm is tempered.

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48th minute- GOAL RED BULLS!!!!!!!!! Angel from Kandji.

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47th minute– We’re back and there are no subs.

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HALFTIME– The Red Bulls have created far more chances and had more possession in the first half. They just need to put one in the net. The Crew look very limited, but Schelotto and Ekpo are dangerous enough to burn the Red Bulls if given the chance.

Cepero has looked very composed in net and his quickness does help give the defense a little more cover.

Potential subs? There doesn’t look to be anything that needs to be done at the half (I could see Rojas coming in for Magee), but Dane Richards and Rojas are the most likely subs when the time comes.

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HALFTIME– Those of you who didn’t know much about Cepero just saw one of his strengths. He is very quick and athletic and can make the quick, jaw-dropping save that Tim Howard practically trademarked when he was MetroStars goalkeeper.

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HALFTIME– WE’re tied 0-0. Red Bulls hit the woodwork twice and Cepero made a clutch save at the end of the half to keep it scoreless.

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45th minute– SAVE CEPERO!!! Diving header from Hendrickson forces a diving full-stretch save.

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44th minute– Van Den Bergh with a hard shot that is saved by Gruenebaum.

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42nd minute– Angel gets whistled for offside on a potentially dangerous chance. The Red Bulls have to feel disappointed not to have a goal yet in this match.

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40th minute– Goldthwaite sends a shot wide after latching on to a Van Den Bergh cross.

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39th minute– Cepero hasn’t had a save to make yet but he’s been impressive with his confidence and quickness. He is a good shot-stopper so it will be good to see how he handles a good, strong shot.

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37th minute– Ekpo is giving Goldthwaite fits tonight, but the Red Bulls have done a decent job of limiting the damage.

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36th minute– So far, Van Den Bergh, Mbuta and Kandji are showing some good energy. Magee and Stammler need to keep possession a bit more.

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34th minute– ANGEL OFF THE CROSSBAR!!! WOW. The second time the Red Bulls hit the frame.

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32nd minute– Crew not showing much urgency. They don’t have anything riding on this one. The Red Bulls need to settle down a bit and start going after the Crew’s fullbacks.

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30th minute– Angel is starving for some service. Red Bulls with a corner.

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29th minute– The game has gone a bit flat.

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27th minute– Goldthwaite with the yellow for the clumsy challenge.

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22nd minute– The Red Bulls need to show a little more patience with the ball when they do get it. It seems clear early on that, aside from Ekpo and Schelotto, the Crew won’t be creating much. That still might be enough to find a goal though.

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18th minute– Mbuta showing some flashes early on. Red Bulls aren’t missing much early on from the Mbuta-Richards swap.

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15th minute– Van Den Bergh has a lot of freedom to roam from his central midfield position and looks like he will be very involved in the attack tonight.

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13th minute– Schelotto nearly pulls off a Sombrero move but the Red Bulls clear the danger. There may be starters missing but Schelotto came to play.

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12th minute– Cepero runs out of the area to clear a ball out. He’s showing a lot of confidence.

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10th minute– Red Bulls corner leads to nothing. Red Bulls are pressing.

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9th minute– Kandji with a shot on goal. He’s camped out on the left flank and will be looking to take on Danny O’Rourke all night. The Red Bulls have to like that match-up.

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6th minute– The Red Bulls created that early chance but haven’t done much since.

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2nd minute– No, there has been no statement issued by Jon Conway for those of yo wonder.

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1st minute– We are under way and van Den Bergh just hit the left post 20 seconds into the match. WOW.

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PRE-GAME– We are about to kick off.

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PRE-GAME– Jeff Parke released a statement regarding his suspension:

"To all my family, teammates, coaches, friends and fans, I apologize for the events that have taken place that have led to this decision by Major League soccer. I share their belief that there is no room for performance enhancing substances in sports. However, it is important for me to share with you that I was unaware of the fact that the supplement I took had any ingredients that would put me in the place that I am today. I do take full responsibility for what has happened and realize that I should have made sure by consulting with the appropriate team staff before taking the supplement. Purchasing an over the counter product at a nationally recognized retail chain ultimately led me to where I am today. I can only hope that this can be prevented in the future and be a learning experience for all the players. Again, my apologies to my teammates, coaching staff, Red Bull, family, friends and fan."

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PRE-GAME– The Red Bulls will be playing a variation of a 4-3-3, with Kandji and Mbuta attacking the wings and Dave Van Den Bergh playing in a central midfield role (more of a two-way midfielder than defensive midfielder). Stammler will anchor the middle.

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PRE-GAME– The most important absence for the Crew, at least as far as the Red Bulls are concerned, are Rogers and Hejduk. Without Rogers, the Red Bulls have a much better chance of handling the Crew. Ekpo is a handful, but you have to like the Red Bulls’ chances tonight. Juan Pablo Angel, for one, has to like the possibility of going up against the speed-challenged Hendrickson and the rookie Iro.

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PRE-GAME– Yes folks, Sigi Schmid is resting MULTIPLE starters, including goalkeeper Wil Hesmer, starting central defender Chad Marshall and right back Frankie Hejduk, midfielders Robbie Rogers (who is hurt) and Eddie Gaven, and forward Alejandro Moreno. Red Bulls fans should send flowers and Thank You cards to the Columbus Crew.

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PRE-GAME– Here is th Red bulls starting lineups:

-Kandji—————Angel—————–Mbuta

————————Magee———————–

———Van Den Bergh——Stammler———–

Goldthwaite—Jimenez—-Boyens———Leitch

———————-Cepero———————–

BENCH– Boss, Wolyniec, Rojas, Richards, Cichero, Sassano, Mendes

Here is the Crew’s lineup:

———–Lenhart———-Schelotto————-

———————Evans————————–

Ekpo—————————————Noonan

——————–Carroll————————-

Padula——Hendrickson—-Iro——–O’Rourke

———————–Gruenebaum—————-

BENCH– Hesmer, Peterson, Zayner, Miglioranzi, Gaven, Garey, Oughton

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PRE-GAME– RED BULLS PROJECTED LINEUP

—————-Kandji———-Angel————–

————————Magee———————–

Van Den Bergh——————————Mbuta

———————-Stammler———————

Goldthwaite—Jimenez—-Boyens———Leitch

———————-Cepero———————–

This was the starting lineup in training on Friday, but don’t be surprised if Dane Richards gets the nod ahead of Mbuta. Juan Carlos Osorio could be looking to rest Richards and Jorge Rojas, who both had international duty this week, and use them both as second-half subs to go after a win in case they are tied or trailing.

Kandji looks like he will be getting his first start at forward since being signed on loan from the Atlanta Silverbacks. We could see Kandji attacking from the left flank at times, with Dave Van Den Bergh pinching into a more central midfield role as such:

Kandji——————Angel————–Mbuta

——Van Den Bergh————–Magee———

———————-Stammler———————

Goldthwaite—Jimenez—-Boyens———Leitch

———————-Cepero———————–

The Red Bulls will certainly be on the attack early on. If you recall, the Red Bulls went right after Columbus the last time these teams played at Giants Stadium, back in April, and the result was an early goal and 2-0 victory. That was obviously seven months ago, but the Red Bulls know they can’t start slowly.

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