September 15, 2012
A HEADY PLAY
McCarty's header lifts Red Bulls over Crew
By Michael Lewis
|Dax McCarty scored the game-winner in the 79th minute.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
HARRISON, N.J. -- A head's up play by Dax McCarty saved the Red Bulls on Saturday night.
McCarty headed home a Thierry Henry corner kick in the 79th minute to break a 1-1 tie and helped lift the Red Bulls to a 3-1 Major League Soccer win over the Columbus Crew before a crowd of 17,134 at Red Bulls Arena.
The victory boosted the Red Bulls (14-7-7, 49 points) into second place over Chicago (14-8-5, 47), pending the Fire's later game with the Montreal Impact, and in pace with the Eastern Conference-leading Sporting Kansas City (15-7-6, 51)
McCarty's game-winner was set up a minute prior when Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum deflected Henry's shot off the crossbar and out of bounds for a corner kick. McCarty beat former MetroStars midfielder Eddie Gaven in the air and headed his shot in.
On the play, Gruenebaum's head hit the left post. The game was stopped for six minutes as Crew officials worked on his face and and his left eye. He was replaced by Matt Lampson in the 85th minute.
Henry added the finishing touches by scoring directly off a corner kick -- an Olympic goal -- several minutes into stoppage time. It was Henry's second goal of the match and 13th of the season.
For the first time, Red Bulls coach Hans Backe used all three designated players in the starting lineup -- midfielders Tim Cahill and Rafa Marquez and striker Thierry Henry. Marquez, a surprise starter, was making his first start in exactly two months -- a 2-2 tie with the Seattle Sounders.
Cahill was named captain of the game, the first time a player other than Henry was selected captain when the former French international starts.
Backe also picked Ken Cooper over Sebastian Le Toux up front.
Those selections certainly did not help the Red Bulls in the early going as Columbus grabbed a 1-0 lead in the third minute.
Only a minute prior, McCarty, playing at right midfield, sent Henry a looping pass. Henry caught up with the ball in the penalty area, but could get only an angled shot from the left side of the box that goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum easily saved.
Only 21 seconds later, the Crew was celebrating a goal. Costa Rican Jairo Arrieta beat Connor Lade on the right side and sent a pass into the penalty area that Milovan Mirosevic slotted past goalkeeper Bill Gaudette for his third goal of the season and a 1-0 Columbus lead in the third minute.
Apparently, the Red Bulls tried to take advantage of a weakness in the Crew defense with some long balls as Marquez lofted a feed over 50 yards to Henry, who beat his made, Chad Marshall in the box and eventually Gruenebaum from eight yards for a 1-1 deadlock in the ninth minute.
Once again, the Red Bulls tried the long-ball over-the top method in the 20th minute. This time it was McCarty who lofted the ball to Henry. The feed was a little too much, but the former French international managed to send the ball across the goalmouth. An onrushing Cooper fired a point-blank shot that Gruenebaum managed to kick out of harm's way.
Cooper's difficult night continued in the 27th minute when Gruenebaum denied him a goal with a right-handed save.
Marquez had a fabulous opportunity to put the hosts ahead in the 39th minute, but he booted a seven-yard shot well high into the stands while alone on the left side of the area.
Cahill was slapped with a yellow card by referee Abiodun Okulaja for fouling Mirosevic in the 56th minute.
After the Red Bulls applied some early pressure at the Columbus goal in the second half, the visitors had their opportunities, including a close-range header by Jairo Arrieta that Gaudette tipped over the bar in the 61st minute.