This article first appeared in Prost Amerika
The New York Red Bulls sit atop of the eastern conference after a solid performance against the Columbus Crew.
Player Ratings (1-10)
Luis Robles (7)
After an uneventful first half where he didn’t have to make a save, Robles was called into action twice in the second half. His biggest save came in the 57th minute, when Kei Kamara turned Damien Perrinelle and unleashed a point-blank shot, which Robles parried with his feet. In the 88th Robles had to stretch himself to reach Aaron Schoenfeld’s flicked header. The Red Bulls keeper could do nothing to avoid Tony Tchani’s goal.
Chris Duvall (7)
The young right-back played comfortably from start to finish. Less adventurous in the first half, Duvall contributed to the Red Bulls attack more often in the second half, and his overlaps opened up space for Lloyd Sam to become more influential. For the most part, Duvall defended adequately. Perhaps, questions could be asked about his positioning when Kamara attempted an ill-fated bicycle kick.
Matt Miazga (6.5)
As is expected of an inexperienced center-back, Miazga’s performance was peppered with the sorts of mistakes that will gradually disappear from his game. Miazga was often pulled out of position by Kamara, and rarely anticipated any passes aimed at the forward. On the positive side, Miazga was difficult to beat in the air, and didn’t try to do too much with the ball playing out of the back.
Damien Perrinelle (6.5)
The French defender was at the receiving end of some criticism from his captain going into halftime. While putting in a solid shift at the defensive end, Perrinelle regularly gave the ball away when trying to play out from the back. Those mistakes prompted Jesse Marsch to sit Dax McCarty deeper in order to collect the ball from the defender. In the 9th minute his quick recovery may have prevented Ethan Finlay from scoring after Miazga was pulled out of position.
Anthony Wallace (6.5)
With the ink on his newly signed contract still fresh, the Brooklyn born defender could hardly have done more. Wallace pushed up the flank in order to join the attack on numerous occasions, and looked to find Bradley Wright-Phillips in the box with his crosses. The left-back will have to be more cautious in the future as he was caught out of position during a few of the Crew’s counterattacks.
Dax McCarty (7.5)
The most defensive of the three center-midfielders, McCarty continued to demonstrate his rich-vein of form. The Red Bulls captain combined well with Felipe in the first half, but suffered from a lack of passing options. In the second half, McCarty sat deeper to serve as a conduit between defense and attack, which translated into better possession, and allowed Felipe and Sacha Kljestan to press further up the field.
After a fairly quiet half, the Brazilian became the catalyst to a much-improved Red Bulls performance in the second half. It was Felipe’s ball-winning anticipation in the 47th minute that led to the game’s first goal after Emanuel Pogatetz brought down Sam in the box. He repeated the feat straight after Columbus’ kick-off in the 49th. After winning back the ball, he found Wright-Phillips, who in turn gifted Sam an excellent scoring opportunity. The Brazilian was also comfortable in possession, combining effortlessly with McCarty and Kljestan.
Sacha Kljestan (6.5)
The least dynamic of the central-midfielders, Kljestan was hardly visible in the first half. As the Red Bulls grew in the second half, so did his influence, but misplaced passes prevented the attacking midfield from having much of an impact. Still, Kljestan’s leadership and experience were evident throughout, as the he never stopped trying to get involved in the game.
Sal Zizzo (6)
While the left-midfielder did work hard, his touch seemed to evade him. Zizzo should have scored in the 9th minute, instead of hitting the woodwork, when Sam found him wide open in the box. Zizzo’s accuracy was also suspect during set-pieces, as none of them found their intended targets. Only his industriousness on the defensive end saved the former Sporting Kansas City from a nightmarish outing.
Lloyd Sam (7.5)
Sam’s only contribution in the first half was handing Zizzo a goal on a silver platter. Other than that, the winger was mostly a passenger. Nevertheless, Sam came alive in the second half as the Red Bulls defended further up the field and forced turnovers. His crafty footwork in the box earned the team a penalty, and only an excellent fingertip save from Steve Clark prevented the Englishman from scoring.
Bradley Wright-Phillips (8)
A perfectly placed penalty kick in the 48th minute gave the Red Bulls the lead, but it was BWP’s hold-up play that stood out. Like his teammates, Wright-Phillips was more influential in the second half, drifting deep to collect and dish the ball and opening the wings for Sam and Mike Grella to exploit. In the 66th minute the Englishman won the ball that resulted in Grella’s gorgeous goal.
Mike Grella (7)
The Long Island native scored his first goal – and the franchise’s one-thousandth – with a subtle chip one minute after subbing in for Zizzo. The fact that Grella attempted the shot in the first place is good news for the club, as it suggests that the forward is not short on confidence and wants to solidify a place in the starting eleven.
Dane Richards (N/A)
Hardly had enough time to have any influence on the game.
Anatol Abang (N/A)
Subbed in for Lloyd Sam in the 92nd minute to burn the clock.