The Columbus Crew defeated the New York Red Bulls, 3-0, in a MLS Reserve League match, Monday at Crew Stadium, behind goals by Justin Meram, Cole Grossman and guest player Johnny Owoeri. Jeff Cunningham, Josh Gardner and guest player Jhonny Arteaga all contributed assists. With the win, the Crew (7-1-0, 21 pts.) strengthened its lead atop the East Division, moving three points ahead of D.C. United (5-0-3, 18 pts.) with only two games left in the season.
The match was a one-sided affair from the start, with Columbus controlling most of the play. Midfielder Bernardo Anor took a shot in the fifth minute only to see it saved. Four minutes later the Crew had another opportunity on goal but Anor’s attempt was saved by N.Y. goalkeeper Alex Horwath. In the 13th minute Anor fouled New York’s John Rooney right outside the 18-yard box for a Red Bulls free kick. New York midfielder Jospeh Niouky (a non-roster player) tried to pick up the rebound off the free kick, but any opportunity was taken away by Crew defender Eric Gehrig.
In the 16th minute, the Crew got on the board with an easy finish by Meram. Cunningham initiated the play looking for Arteaga, and the Colombian was quick to set up an open Meram who slotted the ball to the right of Horwath for the 1-0 lead.
New York responded immediately only to see ensuing shots by Marco Paullo (18th minute) and Cory Hertzog (19th), saved by Crew goalie Andy Gruenebaum. The Crew continued to lay siege to New York’s goal and it paid off again in the 42nd minute.
Black & Gold midfielder Dejan Rusmir initiated the play down the middle of the field, finding an open Cunningham. The MLS all-time leading scorer laid the ball off to Grossman who shot it past Horwath, giving the home team its second goal of the day.
In the second half, New York picked up the pace to no avail. In the 65th minute, Red Bulls guest player Semsa Nikocevic took a shot from close range but Gruenebaum deflected the ball into a corner kick. Five minutes later it was Red Bulls’ midfielder Brian Nielsen’s turn with a great run down the left flank but, again, Gruenebaum was quick to save the shot.
Then, in the 85th minute, Columbus put the final nail in New York’s coffin when Gardner sent Owoeri down the middle on a counter-attack and the Nigerian was able to finish past Horwath, who did manage to get a hand on the ball.
- The Crew is now 7-1-0 in Reserve League play and 4-0-0 at home.
- Justin Meram’s goal was his fourth in Reserve League action.
- Cole Grossman scored his third Reserve League goal.
- The Crew returns to Reserve League play with a match at New England on Sunday, Oct. 16.
Columbus Crew 3, New York Red Bulls 0
Monday, Oct. 10, 2011
CLB – Justin Meram (Jhonny Arteaga) 16
CLB – Cole Grossman (Jeff Cunningham) 42
CLB – Johnny Owoeri (Josh Gardner) 85
CLB – Dejan Rusmir (Caution: hard tackle) 35
CLB – Cole Grossman (Caution: arguing) 68
NEW YORK RED BULLS – Alex Horwath, John Rooney, Matt Kassell, Tommy Williams*, Teddy Schneider, Marcos Paullo (Mike Jones,71) Andrew Welker*(Semso Nikocevic*, 61), Joseph Niouky*, Brian Nielsen, Corey Hertzog, Ethan Decker*
Substitutes not used: none
COLUMBUS – Andy Gruenebaum, Rich Balchan (Korey Veeder, 55), Josh Williams, Eric Gehrig, Josh Gardner, Bernardo Anor (Ben Sippola, 82), Dejan Rusmir (Santiago Prim, 75), Cole Grossman, Justin Meram (Aaron Horton,71), Jeff Cunningham, Jhonny Arteaga* (Johnny Owoeri*, 57)
Substitutes not used: Alex Riggs, Javier Alvial*
*Denotes non-roster player
Referee: Sandip Basu
Referee's Assistants: Pierre Santil-Francillon, Tre Gaither
4th Official: Cory Richardson