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February 1, 2013
Christianson and Cooper score to give Red Bulls a 2-0 win in pre-season opener

Kenny Cooper picked up where he left off from last year, scoring for the Red Bulls in the 87th minute.
Kenny Cooper picked up where he left off from last year, scoring for the Red Bulls in the 87th minute.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
BRADENTON, Fla. -- For a coach who was more interested in fitness than a result, Red Bulls new head coach Mike Petke was pretty satisfied with his side's exhibition result on Friday morning.

Rookie midfielder Ian Christianson and veteran striker Kenny Cooper scored in the final 10 minutes to boost the Red Bulls to a 2-0 victory over the Columbus Crew in the opening match of the pre-season for the Major League Soccer club at IMG Academies.

Christianson, who was selected in the MLS SuperDraft two weeks ago, gave the Red Bulls a 1-0 lead in the 80th minute.

Seven minutes later, Cooper, a second-half substitute, doubled the lead.

"It was a bit of a fitness drill for us today pretty much," Petke said. "It's pre-season first game. It's not just a Red Bulls' view. It's very team in the world. You always want to win every time you step onto the field, not matter the cliches are. It's the first game, pre-season. We want to win."

He received no argument from Cooper.

"It's great to get off to great start and get a win and also get a clean sheet," he said. "The guys did really well. It's fun to finally get back out on the field for a game."

Goalkeepers Luis Robles and Home Grown signing Santiago Castano combined for the shutout. Castano replaced Robles in the 79th minute. The Red Bulls recorded only eight shutouts in 34 regular-season games last season.

Petke said he was "always pleased" getting a clean sheet.

"That's encouraging," he said. "A clean sheet is very encouraging. We really want to focus on defense this year, being hard-nosed defenders. Just cleaning up. It doesn't have to be pretty, but keeping the ball out of the net and we did that today."

Petke was impressed with the player of several younger players, who performed in the second half of the split-squad game.

"The young guys showed a lot of promise," he said. "It was very encouraging [to see] a lot of the young guys play the way they did, Ian particularly."

He then mentioned midfielders Michael Bustamente and Ryan Clark and forward Amando Moreno.

"They don't seem to be afraid," Cooper said of the younger players. "They're really young players. OBviously, we know a lot about Santi and Amando. They've trained with us quite a bit. I've been a bit fan of theirs. And to see the other young boys come into camp [showing] the same maturity and confidence that we saw in Santi, Ethan [Decker] and Amando, they did really well. It's really great to see. They fit in really well on and off the field. I'm really happy they're with us."

New York had the best chance of the two teams in a scoreless first half in the 15th minute. Midfielder Lloyd Sam received the ball on the right wing and crossed it towards the back post. Midfielder Tim Cahill volleyed it past goalkeeper Matt Lampson and off the left post.

Earlier, Columbus’ Federico Higuain came close with a curling free kick that bounced wide.

"It was our first game, eight days in," Petke said. "Very windy conditions. We were going against it in the first half, Columbus had a bit of a possession, but we fought hard. The second half we got the wind at our back."

Six minutes into the second half, the Crew nearly drew first blood, as forward Ryan Finley slammed a shot off the crossbar.

The Red Bulls broke the deadlock in the 80th minute. Nicki Paterson’s in-swinging free kick was met by an open Christianson, who headed it home.

They gave themselves some breathing room in the 87th minute. Cooper, last year's team leading goal-scorer (18 goals), got behind the Crew backline, rounded keeper Daniel Withrow and slid it home.

The Red Bulls return home to New Jersey later on Friday. They will fly back to Florida on Monday to resume another week of pre-season training.

They will face Malmo of Sweden here on Thursday, time TBD.

Scoring Summary:

NY: Ian Christianson 1 (Nicki Paterson 1) 80’

NY: Kenny Cooper 1 (Santiago Castano 1) 87’

Disciplinary Summary:

NY: Tim Cahill (caution) 24’

CLB: Kevan George (caution) 32’

NY: Ruben Izquierdo (caution) 45’

New York Red Bulls (First Half) – Luis Robles, Brandon Barklage, Markus Holgersson, Jamison Olave (Heath Pearce 34’), Roy Miller, Dax McCarty, Tim Cahill, Lloyd Sam, Ruben Izquierdo*, Josue Martinez, Thierry Henry

New York Red Bulls (Second Half) – Luis Robles (Santiago Castano 79’), Kosuke Kimura, Tyler Ruthven* (Toni Stahl* 83’), Heath Pearce, Ryan Clark, Ian Christianson, Michael Bustamante, Ruben Izquierdo* (Nicki Paterson* 67’), Marius Obekop* (Ethan Decker* 76’), Amando Moreno, Kenny Cooper

Columbus Crew – Matt Lampson (Daniel Withrow 61’), Josh Williams (Chad Barson 61’), Chad Marshall (Drew Beckle 61’), Tyson Wahl (Eric Gehrig 61’), Agustin Viana (Kyle Hyland 61’), Ethan Finlay (Ben Speas 46’), Kevan George (Shawn Sloan 61’), Tony Tchani (Konrad Warzycha 46’), Eddie Gaven (Wil Trapp 61’), Federico Higuain (Blake Brettschneider 61’), Ryan Finley (Justin Meram 61’)

* - Guest Player
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