Still no goals, but a point in Houston

Posted on 12 April 2009 by Nathaniel E. Baker

The New York Red Bulls fought their way–at times almost literally–to a scoreless draw against the Houston Dynamo Saturday night at Robertson Stadium. It was a gritty and rough game, with few clear scoring chances on either side. Six cautions and two red cards were issued before the night was done. New York lost two starters to injuries and now may have a three-way fight for starting goalkeeper on its hands.

The Red Bulls had to make their first substitution just eight minutes in when goalkeeper Danny Cepero collided head-to-head with Dynamo forward Kei Kamara after they were both going for a Brad Davis free kick. Cepero sustained a Grade One Concussion and was replaced by rookie goalkeeper Alec Dufty, who ended up making a good impression. More on that in the player ratings below.

Carlos Johnson’s first MLS start ended prematurely when the defender was given a straight red card in the 78th minute for a two-footed studs-up challenge on Bobby Boswell. Kevin Goldthwaite left the game in the 65th minute due to a hip pointer injury and was replaced by Mike Petke. Midfielder Albert Celades also made his MLS debut, coming on in the 64th minute for Seth Stammler.

The Dynamo had a chance to win it at the end when substitute Corey Ashe’s cross found Ching, but the forward’s header was held by Dufty. Moments later, Houston’s Mike Chabala was shown a red card for a late tackle on defender Danleigh Borman.

Match Facts

New York Red Bulls 0, Houston Dynamo 0
April 11, 2009 – Robertson Stadium; Houston, TX

Scoring Summary:
None

Disciplinary Summary:
NY: Pietravallo (caution) 13’
NY: Boyens (caution) 34’
HOU: Ching (caution) 43’
NY: Stammler (caution) 54’
NY: Petke (caution) 68’
NY: Johnson (red card, ejection) 78’
HOU: Boswell (caution) 79’
HOU: Chabala (red card, ejection) 93’+

Lineups:

New York Red Bulls (0-2-2, 2 pt.): Danny Cepero (Alec Dufty 8’), Danleigh Borman, Kevin Goldthwaite (Mike Petke 65’), Andrew Boyens, Carlos Johnson, Juan Pietravallo, Seth Stammler (Albert Celades 64’), Khano Smith, Jorge Rojas, Dane Richards, Juan Pablo Angel

Substitutes not used: John Wolyniec, Dominic Oduro, Sinisa Ubiparipovic, Luke Sassano

Houston Dynamo (0-2-2, 2 pt.): Pat Onstad, Richard Mulrooney, Bobby Boswell, Geoff Cameron, Wade Barrett (Mike Chabala 80’), Brian Mullan (Corey Ashe 70’), Ricardo Clark, Brad Davis, Stuart Holden, Kei Kamara, Brian Ching

Substitutes not used: Tally Hall, Danny Cruz, Julius James, Craig Waibel, Chris Wondolowski

Referee: Hilario Grajeda
Referee’s Assistants: Adam Wienckowski, Adam Garner
4th Referee: Jason Anno
Attendance: 19,494

RBNY Player Ratings (on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being best)

Alec Dufty: 7
Was not tested much but looked very stable when he was. Appears to play his position very well. And at 6′ 6″, definitely has the size (unlike Cepero?). We say give him a chance to win the starting job for the RSL match in training, then see where things go.

Danleigh Borman: 7
Played well for the most part. Was only beaten clearly once (in the first half) and made several key tackles after that. Also had good forward runs. Like seeing him take corners too.

Kevin Goldthwaite: 8
The best Red Bull on the pitch. This is the Kevin Goldthwaite we saw and loved in the postseason last year. A solid presence in central defense. Made several crucial tackles. Hopefully his injury is not severe.

Andrew Boyens: 6
Did his job for the most part. A little shaky at times, which we’ve come to expect. But no egregious errors.

Carlos Johnson: 5
Until the red card he actually played pretty well. But the foul (and it was a clear red card) came at a terrible time, was completely unnecessary and almost cost his team the game. Seems to be a dirty player (and not just because of the foul).

Juan Pietravallo: 6
Did his job in defensive midfield. Only picked up a yellow card, which is a major step up for him. Actually had a few good tackles in the second half. Seems a bit clueless at times but if the team is just bunkering he can maybe have a role.

Seth Stammler: 7
Great to have him back. Nearly scored on a cracking shot early in the first half. Passed well, defended well, but clearly ran out of steam in the second half. That’s fine. This team will clearly be a lot better with him in the lineup.

Khano Smith: 4
A very limited game from a very limited player. Several times did not seem to have the faintest idea where to play or what to do. Nearly cost the team a goal late in the second half. Had several “swing and miss” moments that were simply embarrassing. Why did the Red Bulls sign him again?

Jorge Rojas: 5
Better than what he did at Chicago, which isn’t saying much. As the “creative force” in central midfield is dangerously thin on ideas. Doesn’t hold his position, doesn’t pass well, doesn’t defend. How much longer before this experiment is declared a failure and he is shipped off to Venezuela (or wherever)?

Dane Richards: 6
Had a few nice runs with the ball, but not enough to make much of a difference. Defenders know how to play Richards now; show him onto his left foot and stay on your heels prepared for him to burst by you (or try to). A limited player who seemed to make great strides in the postseason but appears to have regressed so far this season.

Juan Pablo Angel: 6
Another largely disappointing performance. Hard to say what is eating at JPA’s game and how significant it is to his prospects for this season and beyond. Is it merely poor (or inexistent) service from the Red Bulls midfield? That would certainly frustrate any striker. But his first touch has also escaped him a few times and he seems a step slower. Is age creeping in? Will need more evidence before making an assessment. For now it is clear that New York’s best player (and arguably the best striker in the league) is not getting the ball when and how he wants it. And that’s a problem the team needs to address.

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