Recap: Crew vs. Red Bulls
The king is not going to give up its crown without a fight.
Columbus, the beast of the East for the past two seasons, held off the challenge of second-place New York with a 2-0 victory Saturday before 14,378 fans at Crew Stadium.
Nursing a 1-0 halftime lead on Emilio Renteria’s goal, Brian Carroll gave the Crew breathing room with an exquisite score in the 48th minute to hand Columbus their first win in three games.
Columbus (9-3-4, 31 points) ended New York’s five-game unbeaten streak and increased their lead over the second-place Red Bulls (8-6-2, 26) to five points.
The only downer for the Crew was captain Frankie Hedjuk’s red card for a tackle on Carl Robinson in the waning minutes. Meanwhile, goalkeeper William Hesmer earned his seventh shutout of the season.
Even new Red Bulls signing Thierry Henry would have been impressed by Carroll’s goal.
Taking advantage of Tim Ream's weak clearance, Carroll one-timed a bouncer with his unnatural left-foot and ripped the ball into the upper right corner for his first goal since Aug. 16, 2008.
However, Carroll appeared to suffer an ankle injury in the 57th minute and was replaced by Shaun Francis, who made his MLS debut.
Renteria made his third start and the forward rewarded coach Robert Warzycha’s decision by putting the Crew ahead in the 20th minute with an effort that exemplified the team over the past three seasons.
It started with Carroll dispossessing Juan Pablo Angel at the center circle and feeding Adam Moffat. The Scot slipped a pass ahead to Guillermo Barros Schelotto, who dribbled several times before slotting the ball with his right foot between two defenders and toward Renteria.
As Renteria moved inside the penalty area he put the ball toward the left corner of the frame. Bouna Coundoul got a mitt on the shot, but it flew into the upper netting for Renteria’s third goal of the season.
It was the Crew’s first goal in 245 minutes.
New York couldn’t crack the Crew defense until Dane Richards tested William Hesmer in the 24th minute, but his shot was saved before it reached the right post. Hesmer came up big in the 42nd minute when Ream got on the end of a corner kick and put a left-foot strike on goal that forced Hesmer to his knees to corral it.
Columbus, playing in their third MLS match in eight games, made several revisions from their previous game. Coming off a 1-0 home loss Wednesday to Kansas City, Warzycha moved left back Gino Padula to the bench for Danny O’Rourke. Ekpo replaced midfielder Robbie Rogers and Renteria, who scored his first league goal in the Crew’s 3-1 win at New York on May 20, was the choice at forward over Jason Garey.
The Red Bulls made two changes from a 0-0 tie against D.C. United last week, including the last-minute insertion of Luke Sassano for defender Chris Albright. Dane Richards got the nod over Salou Ibrahim, who has a right foot sprain.
Henry did not play after being signed to a multi-year contract on Wednesday, though he's is expected to make his debut in a friendly against England's Tottenham Hotspur on Thursday at Red Bull Arena.
Henry traveled Saturday to Columbus and did several media events before watching his new club from a suite.
“I want to be there to show my support and see a new place,” he told MLSSoccer.com. “It’s a big game against the Columbus Crew.”
The Crew next host Houston on July 24.
New York’s next MLS match is at Houston on July 31, when Henry is expected to make his league debut.
New York Red Bulls 0, at Columbus Crew 2
Columbus Crew Stadium
New York Red Bulls (8-6-2)
Columbus Crew (9-3-4)
CLB -- Emilio Renteria 3 (Guillermo Barros Schelotto 5, Adam Moffat 1) 20
CLB -- Brian Carroll 1 (unassisted) 48
NY -- Carlos Mendes (caution; Reckless Tackle) 10
CLB -- Frankie Hejduk (ejection; Serious Foul Play) 89
New York Red Bulls -- Bouna Coundoul, Luke Sassano, Carlos Mendes, Tim Ream, Danleigh Borman (Macoumba Kandji 46), Roy Miller, Joel Lindpere, Seth Stammler (Carl Robinson 79), Sinisa Ubiparipovic (Tony Tchani 46), Juan Pablo Angel, Dane Richards.
Substitutes Not Used: Mike Petke, Jeremy Hall, Conor Chinn, Greg Sutton.
Columbus Crew -- William Hesmer, Frankie Hejduk, Chad Marshall, Andy Iro, Danny O'Rourke, Emmanuel Ekpo, Brian Carroll (Shaun Francis 57), Adam Moffat, Eddie Gaven, Emilio Renteria (Jason Garey 80), Guillermo Barros Schelotto (Robbie Rogers 85).
Substitutes Not Used: Eric Brunner, Duncan Oughton, Gino Padula, Andy Gruenebaum.
Referee: Abbey Okulaja
Referee's Assistants: -Joe Fletcher; Jeff Muschik
4th Official: Silviu Petrescu
Time of Game: 1:51