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Red Bulls show promise but little else in Columbus draw
In a significant improvement over last year, the New York Red Bulls showed a lot of heart and determination in their season opener against the Columbus Crew. If only the score reflected their efforts. For the third straight year, New York opened the season with a draw, this time a goalless result at Crew Stadium on Saturday night.

This coming Sunday, New York fans will get the chance in person to welcome back a MetroStars hero in Clint Mathis, as well as the former Captain America, Claudio Reyna, and if their performances against the Crew were any indication, they will receive a warm reception just prior to their match against FC Dallas at Giants Stadium.

Though critics of Reyna (this author included) set low expectations for the former Manchester City player before the season started, solid outings in the preseason and during the first ninety minutes of the regular season should have given all Red Bulls supporters the impression of a midfield that is far more organized now than last season. Reyna did leave behind some doubts as his footwork and playmaking became more hesitant and tentative, following a collision with Dane Richards during the first half. The Crew also made it a second half priority to keep Reyna under control, but a complete game by the Red Bulls' designated player shed some light on the team's chances for success this season.

Clint Mathis came on as a substitute in the second half, representing New York for the first time since leaving for what would become a failed stint in Germany and mediocre performances with Real Salt Lake and the Colorado Rapids. The sentimental favorite of fans who once knew his team as the MetroStars, Mathis played the final half hour of the game in place of Josmer Altidore. Few opportunities for New York presented themselves late in the game, which turned into a midfield battle much to the Crew's liking, leaving Mathis with very little action in his first game.

One of the bright spots of the game was Ronald Waterreus, who succeeded the now-retired Tony Meola in goal. As the Crew threatened throughout the second half, the new goalkeeper made a number of important saves to keep Columbus goalless. He would need some help towards the end of the game, however, as a long-range shot from Ned Grabavoy saw Waterreus off his line and exposed. Much to the relief of the Red Bulls, Grabavoy's effort would hit the post and keep out of the net.

By the final whistle, New York fans were disappointed to have dominated the game, only to end their road trip with a single point before heading home. Though the defense and midfield shone throughout the game, a lackluster three shots on goal was symbolic of New York's almost-eternal search for a more potent offense than the Mathis-John Wolyniec-Dave van den Bergh strike force up top. With Reyna making the plays through midfield, New York is sure to see more of the ball in the attacking third throughout the season, but will have to be more efficient with their opportunities against Dallas than they were against Columbus. FCD's 2-2 draw with Real Salt Lake, a game left for dead until a very late-stoppage time goal by Carlos Ruiz denied the home team the win, serves as a warning to the Red Bulls to find their net in their home opener this week.
April 09, 2007 Roehl Sybing



Email: sean@mlsfan.net

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Scores
Sat., Apr. 14th
6:00PM ET
Salt Lake 0
Columbus 0

Sat., Apr. 14th
7:30PM ET
New England 0
Toronto 0

Sat., Apr. 14th
7:30PM ET
DC United 0
Kansas City Wizards 0

Sat., Apr. 14th
8:30PM ET
Houston 0
Chivas USA 0

Sat., Apr. 15th
3:00PM ET
New York 0
Dallas 0

Sun., Apr. 15th
8:00PM ET
Colorado 0
Chicago 0

Standings
East
Team Name Pts
Chicago 3
Columbus 1
New York 1
DC United 0
Kansas City 0
New England 0
Toronto 0

West
Team Name Pts
Dallas 4
Chivas USA 3
Colorado 3
Houston 1
Los Angeles 1
Salt Lake 1

Top Ten Scorers
Top 10 Scorers
Player Name Gls
Ruiz 2
Cooper 2
Cunningham 2
Kljestan 1
Brown 1
Emilio 1
H. Gomez 1
Findley 1
Razov 1
Pause 1