The Red Bulls dropped points at home against the Columbus Crew on Saturday night.
HARRISON, NJ -- Saturday night action at Red Bull Arena featured a weakened New York home side hosting the Columbus Crew. The crowd was 20,393 in New York. Both teams entered the game desperate for a win, with the Red Bulls winless in their last four games, and the Crew winless in their last five. New York had six key absentees out on International duty including both center backs, and the Crew were missing stars Robbie Rogers (International duty) and Emilio Renteria who was out with a quadricep injury.
The game opened brightly for the Red Bulls when central midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy fired a bending goalward effort in the 2nd minute, forcing Crew keeper William Hesmer to palm wide.
Ballouchy hit the back of the net in the 9th minute. Luke Rodgers escaped the outside trap and settled in behind the Crew defense. He held up the play well, and slipped in a neat pass towards the center of the box for Ballouchy, who this time beat Hesmer.
A cause for Red Bull concern occurred when key defender Jan Gunnar Solli was substituted in the 28th minute due to a hamstring injury. The Red Bulls have yet to diagnose the injury officially.
Dilly Duka for the Crew had two flashes of individual skill down the left side in the 34th and 35th minutes, but could not manage to create enough for a goal.
The teams went back to the tunnel for halftime with the score line reading Red Bulls 1, Crew 0. Both teams created chances but after 45 minutes it was a fair score.
The beginning of the second half brought a more open style of game, but still neither team could produce a goal. Debut starter for the Red Bulls Austin Da Luz and Crew veteran Eddie Gavin both had half chances to score, but failed to hit the mark.
In the 65th minute, the ball was worked to Crew forward Andres Mendoza in the front of the box, who scuffed embarrassingly wide. It was a clearly squandered chance. 11 minutes later, in 76th, the ball once again came to Mendoza in the same spot, this time in the form of a driven cross, and the Peruvian skied the completely open header wide. Two shocking misses.
As the game lulled towards the finish, New York seemed to have three points locked up. Rodgers and Lindpere played the last five minutes of the game at the corner flags. But after a sloppy turnover by Ballouchy, The Crew turned the last attack of the match into a point. Justin Meram took the ball down the left side of the pitch and centered for the onrushing Rich Balchan to bury in stoppage time for the equalizer.
New York will try to break its winless streak on Friday against the Revolution, and Columbus gets Real Salt Lake at home next.
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