October 20, 2012
KC goalkeeper stands on his head and then some to hold Red Bulls to a scoreless draw
HARRISON, N.J. -- Even when they outplay Sporting Kansas City, the Red Bulls cannot overcome what has become their latest Major League Soccer nemesis.
|Jimmy Nielsen was magnificent in goal for Sporting Kansas City.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Despite dominating the match, the Red Bulls were forced to settle for a scoreless draw with the Eastern Conference leaders before a capacity crowd at Red Bull Arena on Saturday night.
New York can blame a superb performance by Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen for their latest frustrating result as he stopped everything that came his way to register his 15th shutout of the season.
That result left the Red Bulls at 15-9-9 and 54 points while KC moved to 17-7-9 and 60 points.
New York did just about everything but score against Sporting in the first half.
In contrast to the first two games against Kansas City, the Red Bulls took the attack to the visitors, keeping the defense under pressure for virtually the entire half.
They forced goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen to come up big three times in the in those 45 minutes while his Red Bulls counterpart, Luis Robles, had a relatively silent half.
First, Nielsen pounced on a corner kick scramble in the penalty area to deny midfielder Tim Cahill a scoring opportunity in the 21st minute.
Some two minutes later, Nielsen parried away Dax McCarty's 24-yard effort. The rebound went to an onushing Kenny Cooper, who sent his shot over the crossbar. Cahill's momentum took him into the left corner of the net and it appeared he wanted Cooper to pass him the ball instead of shooting it.
Nielsen was forced to produce some more magic in the 41st minute, knocking away a Cooper drive from 22 yards.
Red Bulls captain Thierry Henry received a yellow card in the 44th minute for arguing that a hand ball should have been called against Aurelien Collin
Seven minutes into the second half, Nielsen saved the visitors yet again. This time Cahill latched onto a deflected ball on the left side. He ran down the field and set up Henry, whose close-range shot on the left side was again denied by the Danish goalkeeper.
Nielsen continued to stymie the hosts. Within only a span of a few seconds in the 65th minute, Nielsen managed to swat away a Henry 15-yard attempt with his right hand before the rebound deflected off teammate and defender Matt Besler's face.
New York coach Hans Backe replaced a limping Lloyd Sam with veteran Estonian international midfielder Joel Lindpere in the 77th minute.
Goalkeeper Luis Robles, who had not been tested all night, came up with a vital save in the 86th minute, as he knocked away Kamara's header from point-blank range.
Two minutes later, it was McCarty's turn to become a hero, but Nielsen dived to his right to deny his 16-yard blast.