By DAN KARELL
Many wondered how New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles would overcome his serious error seven days ago.
On Saturday afternoon, Robles answered those questions in a big way.
Robles made six saves including a penalty kick stop on Federico Higuain to lead the New York Red Bulls to a 1-0 victory over the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium. Red Bulls midfielder Tim Cahill scored the lone goal of the match in the 80th minute, his third in two games to lead his side to their third win in a row.
I’m very, very happy about that,” Red Bulls manager Mike Petke said following the match. “We played against a good team today, the Crew. While it probably wasn’t the most beautiful game to watch at home, I could care less, it’s three points.”
Petke choose to place Juninho back in the starting lineup after serving his two-match suspension, though he never really found his feet in the match. The Crew midfield of former Red Bulls/Metrostars players caused problems all match, and it looked like by the 70th minute, the momentum would finally swing towards the hosts.
Tireless Crew right back Josh Williams weaved his way through the Red Bulls defense around the box, feeding midfielder and former Metro Eddie Gaven into the box. Gaven, in true veteran form, flicked the ball up into the air and was met with a sliding tackle from Red Bulls defender Brandon Barklage, earning his side a crucial penalty kick.
“I feel like we definitely put them under pressure, which was something we were trying to do going into the game,” Gaven told TheCrew.com after the match. “We didn’t give them too much time or space to play.”
The Argentine forward Higuain stepped up to the spot, but his shot was seen all the way by Robles, who dove to his right and punched away in the 72nd minute. Seconds later on a free kick, Higuain nearly scored again, but somehow the 28-year-old goalkeeper got a hand to a low strike on goal, and deflected it up over the bar.
“It was a great save, a great save,” said Cahill, “and in the end to nick the win like we did, overall it was fantastic.”
Added Crew manager Robert Warzycha to TheCrew.com: “The penalty changed everything. If we scored that penalty, we would probably win the game.”
Against the run of play, halftime substitute Lloyd Sam made his first foray down the right wing for the Red Bulls since coming on. Sam sent in a floated cross to the middle in the 80th minute, which Cahill got a slight touch on to bring it to teammate Jonny Steele. Steele’s strike on goal was saved by Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum, but the rebound went back into the middle of the box, where Cahill sent a floated header over the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.
“I saw the ‘keeper off the line, and just lobbed it over him with an instinctive header,” Cahill commented. “It’s good rewards for a hard days work.”
Cahill earned a yellow card for removing his shirt during his wild celebration, but the Australian hunkered down in the final ten minutes of the match to help defend the lead. Higuain and Arrieta each had chances to score, as did Crew centerback Glauber, but the chance was stopped by the outstretched arms of Robles, who earned his third clean sheet of the season.
“He was huge for us, even aside from the penalty kick stop, which was unbelievable,” Petke said about Robles. “He was commanding in the box, he controlled the tempo of the game at times which is huge for a goalkeeper, and I’m very happy with his performance.”
The Crew were credited with 15 attempts on goal and a majority of the possession, but were unable to translate the opportunities they had into goals.
“The defense has been incredible,” Robles said about the play of Barklage, Jamison Olave, Markus Holgersson, and Roy Miller. “As far as the effort that they’ve given for 90 minutes, the way they’ve worked for each other, the way they’ve covered for each other, and if that’s something that we can continue to produce for the rest of the season, then we’re gonna be dangerous.”
Here are the match highlights:
Good on NY. Though the PK save was excellent, I thought Robles was actually quite shaky all game. Shame on the Crew for not punishing him for it… Waaay too many good looks went high or wide.
I have always liked Cahill, but he was a goon in this game – I have no idea how he wasn’t sitting on a yellow before his goal. But he definitely had more fire and passion than the Crew midfield, especially Tchani. Tony has skills, but not any toughness.
Am I the only one who thinks Robles problems might be related to his insistence on playing goal with his eyes closed?
Oh hahaha I see what you did there lol. Seriously though if they want to contend for MLS cup they will have to either see massive improvement from him or find another keeper.
Robles is the Earl Hickey of soccer. Every, and I mean every, photo of him at Kaiserslautern had him with his eyes closed. It became a running joke during training sessions.
Funny how people have changed their tones about Cahill in a matter of weeks
Months and weeks ago I was saying that Cahill helps the team a great deal, gets in great positions, has been subpar in finishing, and I love that he’s on the team. All holds true now ha. He definitely makes up for the lack of finishing. Especially now that he’s started to finish some of them too..
It is odd because people have unrealistic expectations of players who join in summer, they have just gone through a 10 month season, they often dont produce until the next year. cahill will end up being a good signing for red bulls
Champions of May, We’re always champions of May
Champions of May, We’re always champions of May
Cahill delivers another ice cold glass of shut up juice to the haters.
Juhihno is just awful. He’s too slow and for someone who’s supposed to be this AMAZING passer he’s not very accurate. He should not be playing the majority of minutes in a game. he should be coming off the bench. Let’s Lloyd start.
Juninho was disappointing – would like to see him on the field with Peggy next week in NE
Is Juninho a DP? Not worth it if he is.
No he isn’t…
Juninho is really not a good fit for this team at all.
Ugly wins are still a win. Huge Robles bounce back.
I’m surprised that the Crew lost at home, being such a MASSIVE CLUB and all.
when New York ever wins anything, anything at all, they can make fun of other clubs. Until then, keep spending money on players so you can lose when it matters most.
It is official, you have been “what ever-ed.”
Its been official since 96’…New York chokes when it matters
It’s been official since the dawn of time. NY is a better city than your city.