Columbus 3, New York 1: Red Bulls’ Skid Hits Three

The depleted Red Bulls hosted the undermanned Columbus Crew last night at Red Bull Arena, with first place in the Eastern Conference on the line.

The Crew’s personnel absences were arguably greater than RBNY’s, as Columbus was missing midfielder Robbie Rogers and defender Chad Marshall (both U.S. national team call-ups) along with playmaker Guillermo Barros Schelotto (suspended), the best player on the team.

New York was without striker Salou Ibrahim (hamstring strain) and midfielders Joel Lindpere (groin strain) Brian Nielsen (knee pain; he had surgery a few months back) and Carl Robinson (knee swelling).

They certainly could have used those guys (except Robinson, whose absence could be considered addition by subtraction), but having a crack at a Crew side missing its top three players was a golden opportunity for the Red Bulls to stop a two-game losing streak, lock up three points, and put some distance between themselves and Columbus at the top of the East.

It didn’t happen, but in true MetroBull fashion, New York delivered one of its best performances of the season, yet lost by two goals. They were knocking the ball around, dominating possession, and creating chances. They hit the post twice and the crossbar once.

If they’d improved their finishing and avoided a few howlers on the backline by Mssrs. Ream and Petke—nonexistent marking on the first goal, a header by Eddie Gaven, and a horrible miscommunication on the third, match-killing goal that gave Emilio Renteria a breakaway—they might have won comfortably.

Thierry Henry would have buried those chances, right? Coming up: with Henry on the way, we look back and rate the big-name foreign signings in MLS history.

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