Tag Archive | "Matthew Mbuta"

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Backe bloodletting picks up speed with four cuts

Posted on 12 February 2010 by Nathaniel E. Baker

It took a little while but the New York Red Bulls new head coach has begun to flash the paring knife. Hans Backe took a major stride toward ridding himself from some of the baggage of the previous regime today, showing the door to four players, one of whom played a major role in the team’s surprising run to the MLS Cup final in 2008.
Red Bull New York announced it had waived goalkeeper Danny Cepero and defenders Carlos Johnson and Walter Garcia. The team also did not pick up midfielder Matthew Mbuta’s option.

Cepero will be missed by the team's fans ©Juila Harper/ASN

The biggest surprise is probably Cepero. The 24-year old was with the Red Bulls for three seasons after being drafted in the fourth round (46th overall) in the 2007 MLS Supplemental Draft by then head coach Bruce Arena. The University of Pennsylvania graduate is perhaps best known for becoming the first goalkeeper in MLS history to score from the field of play, in an October 2008 victory over the Columbus Crew. Cepero was stellar in the playoffs that year and was a major reason the Red Bulls made it to the final. Last year was a bit of a different story. He made 13 starts for New York in 2009, earning a 1.74 goals against average and a 2-8-3 record. But Cepero was still seen as a serviceable goalkeeper and was extremely popular with fans.

Johnson joined the Red Bulls from Norway’s Bryne FK before the start of the MLS season in March and appeared in 13 matches, tallying one assist. The Costa Rican was very much a Juan Carlos Osorio product: Latin, physical, defender but despite a horrendous start to his MLS career was not the biggest bust of the Osorio era (that honor probably goes to Juan Pietravallo). At the end of last season Johnson had begun to play much better and showed promise as a MLS pro.

Mbuta completed his first full season with New York after signing on Sept. 15, 2008. He was previously part of the Crystal Palace Baltimore side that upset the Red Bulls in the 2008 U.S. Open Cup. Mbuta scored twice in 12 appearances as a Red Bull. For whatever reason the Cameroonian winger never got much of a chance with the team, despite a few impressive performances, including a home loss to the Colorado Rapids where he earned strong praise from ASN’s pundit.

The departure of Garcia is a mere formality as the Argentine appeared in just one game for the Red Bulls after being signed from Quilmes Atletico Club last year and left as soon as the season was over. The 25-year old completed a loan spell at Leeds United after the end of the MLS regular season.

The cuts of course beg the question who the team will sign as replacements. Expect New York to sign goalkeeper Greg Sutton, who accompanied the team to its training camp in La Manga, Spain, to a more formal contract. Estonian midfielder Joel Lindpere is reportedly incoming but the departure of Johnson leaves a hole at right back. Or perhaps that’s where Roy Miller will play?

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Rapids outshoot Red Bulls in sloppy night at the Swamp

Posted on 28 September 2008 by Nathaniel E. Baker


The Colorado Rapids defeated the New York Red Bulls 5-4 in a rainy Saturday night game at Giants Stadium that was marked by defensive lapses on both sides. Seven of the goals were scored in the first half before the teams settled down a bit in the second. After the two newest members of the Red Bulls, Matthew Mbuta and Macoumba Kandji combined for a pretty goal to tie the game in the 74th minute, Conor Casey completed his hat trick with the game winner goal in the 90th.

“I thought we all were very poor today,” said Red Bulls head coach Juan Carlos Osorio after the game. “This is the first time in my professional career that a team I have coached conceded four goals in one half. Absolutely terrible.” Asked for a Cliffs Notes version of what he told the team, Osorio replied, “You don’t want to know.”

Of Osorio’s speech defender Jeff Parke said only “He let us know in his own words [that] it’s not acceptable.”

Playing without two starters, Kevin Goldthwaite (red card suspension) and Dave van den Bergh (sports hernia), the Red Bulls started with a three man back line of Diego Jimenez, Gabriel Cichero and Parke. It became clear almost immediately that the defensive formation would not hold water–much less a Colorado team that attacked from the word go.

Omar Cummings put the visitors up after only three minutes when Cichero let Conor Casey walk past him. Jon Conway made the initial save but Cummings slotted home the rebound. After Colorado’s Cory Gibbs returned the favor and gifted Mike Magee the equalizer, Conor Casey again bulled past the Red bull defense and put the Rapids up, 2-1.

To Osorio’s credit, he switched the formation on the fly, moving Carlos Mendes to right back to create a four man back line. The move appeared to work as the Red Bulls slowly regained control of the game. Pablo Mastroeni was called for a hand ball in his own penalty box that gave the Red Bulls a questionable penalty. “It’s extremely harsh on the defender when he gets it rammed into him from a yard away that the referee calls hand ball,” said Rapids interim head coach Gary Smith. “I don’t think it was a case of arm to ball–more a case of ball to arm. In that case I really think a bit of common sense needs to be shown.”

Juan Pablo Angel converted the penalty for New York and Dane Richards put the hosts up 3-2 in the 40th minute. It appeared the Red Bulls had the upper hand and would perhaps even coast to victory against a Colorado Rapids team that has struggled for large portions of the 2008 season.

That was not to be, however, as Colorado came roaring back to equalize and then take the lead. Mike Petke scored the first after the Red Bulls defense failed to clear a corner and Casey converted a penalty to put the visitors ahead on the stroke of half time.

Osorio made another adjustment to start the second half, pulling Cichero for Andrew Boyens. “I think that was a wake up call for him,” Osorio said of the Venezuelan defender. “They [Colorado] played very direct football and he just couldn’t handle it…I think he struggled physically against Casey.” Dane Richards left the game with a hyperextended right knee in the 55th minute. Replacing him was 23-year old forward Macoumba Kandji, signed on loan from USL’s Atlanta Silverbacks earlier this month. Fifteen minutes later, Mbuta got his chance, entering the game in the 70th minute for Carlos Mendes.

The Red Bulls equalized four minutes later on an inspired combination from their two newest players. “It was a great play,” said Kandji after the game. “The right back passed it to me, I passed it back, hit it to [Mbuta], flick it, I go back…couldn’t have put it any better.”

For Mbuta, the goal was only the second time he touched the ball. “When I came in I just did exactly what he [Osorio] asked me to do and I scored the goal,” said Mbuta, who scored against the Red Bulls as a member of USL-2 side Crystal Palace Baltimore in that team’s upset of New York in the U.S. Open Cup earlier this season.

Red Bulls player ratings

On scale of 1-10 where 10 is highest.

Conway – 4 – Partially to blame for the first two goals, left hung out to dry on the last three. Didn’t convince, especially when coming off the line.

Parke – 4 – Hard to give a defender a good mark when five goals were conceded. Switched from a right sided back in a 3 man backline to a center back in a 4 man backline and back throughout the match. Lost Conor Casey at the end to give up the winner.

Cichero – 4 – Got mixed up with Conway on the first goal and was abused by Conor Casey on the second goal. Physically overmatched by Casey and also Omar Cummings. Osorio abandoned the three man backline midway through the first half, then pulled Cichero at half time and immediately went back to it. The dreaded halftime sub might be a low point for his season.

Jiminez – 5 – Had all the work to do playing behind Rojas and couldn’t possibly cover enough ground to make it happen. Settled down and had a solid second half.

Richards – 6 – Took a while for him to get involved, but once the Red Bulls started to play more direct, he began to cause problems. Got injured right when he was starting to heat up. Excellent run through the box on his goal.

Pietravallo – 8 – MOTM for NY despite committing the foul that earned Colorado’s penalty. Outstanding workrate in the midfield, and began to assert himself in possession in the second half. Great run to set up the equalizer in the second half.

Rojas – 5 – Better second half cancelled out an awful first half. Was not up for the task of playing as a wide man in a 3-5-2 once again, as he left Jiminez isolated and forced Osorio to move to a 4-4-2. Played well as a quasi-target man in the second half and looked better coming into the middle of the field.

Stammler – 5 – Really was redundant with Pietravallo holding up the middle and Colorado playing mostly over the top. A quiet game for him, but could have been better utilized by his manager.

Mendes – 5 – Could have been more useful on the backline as he spent most of the game watching the ball being played overtop of him. Didn’t add anything to the attack.

Magee – 5 – Failed to impress. Seemingly given a free role by Osorio, he does little to impose himself on the game. Was gifted the first goal, but did little else. When Dave van den Bergh gets healthy it’s unlikely he’ll keep his spot.

Angel – 6 – Invisible in the first half. Very effective in the second half as NY pumped every ball straight into his feet or up high in his direction. Was combining well with Richards when he left the game. Headed a clear chance right at the keeper in the second half.

Boyens – 7 – Came in a calmed down the defense in the second half making some important challenges. Was in the right position on the final goal, but was beaten by the quality of the cross.

Kandji – 6 – Looked uncomfortable with his new teammates, but still managed to create the 4th goal in the second. The physical tools and energy are all there for him to make the second forward spot his.

Mbuta – 7 – Added a spark that the Red Bulls sorely needed when Richards came out. Really threw his body around and combined nicely with Kandji on his goal. Very pacy.

Notes and Observations on the visitors:

Conor Casey was an absolute menace in front of the net. One wonders how many goals he could have scored tonight had Terry Cooke been serving crosses opposite Colin Clark the entire game. He’s definitely Bob Bradley’s type of player, so another game or two like this, and you might be seeing him back in a US kit for the first time since he left the 2005 Gold Cup on a stretcher. He’s got to offer more than Eddie Johnson.

Cory Gibbs, other than his mistake on the first goal, looked fast and athletic. His manager, Gary Smith, was extremely complimentary of him after the game, noting that it might have been the first mistake he’d seen Cory make since he came to the team. What in the world could LA have been thinking passing this guy up?

Pablo Mastroeni looked very lively as well, and should get himself a nice payday in Serie A next season.

How out of favor are Jose Burciaga and Christian Gomez that they can’t crack this lineup ahead of Nick Labrocca and Jordan Harvey?

Match Facts

Colorado Rapids (10-12-4) vs. New York Red Bulls (9-9-8)
September 27, 2008 — Giants Stadium

Scoring Summary:
COL — Omar Cummings 6 (unassisted) 3
NY — Mike Magee 5 (unassisted) 5
COL — Conor Casey 6 (Omar Cummings 3) 11
NY — Juan Pablo Angel 11 (penalty kick) 34
NY — Dane Richards 2 (Juan Pietravallo 1, Jorge Rojas 5) 40
COL — Mike Petke 2 (unassisted) 43
COL — Conor Casey 7 (penalty kick) 45
NY — Matthew Mbuta 1 (Macoumba Kandji 1) 74
COL — Conor Casey 8 (Mehdi Ballouchy 4) 90


Colorado Rapids — Preston Burpo, Kosuke Kimura, Cory Gibbs, Mike Petke, Jordan Harvey, Mehdi Ballouchy (Jacob Peterson 94+), Nick LaBrocca (Terry Cooke 79), Pablo Mastroeni, Colin Clark, Conor Casey, Omar Cummings (Greg Dalby 85).

Substitutes Not Used: Jose Burciaga Jr., Christian Gomez, Bouna Coundoul, Ugo Ihemelu

New York Red Bulls — Jon Conway, Jeff Parke, Gabriel Cichero (Andrew Boyens 46), Diego Jimenez, Dane Richards (Macoumba Kandji 55), Juan Pietravallo, Jorge Rojas, Seth Stammler, Carlos Mendes (Matthew Mbuta 70), Mike Magee, Juan Pablo Angel.

Substitutes Not Used: Danny Cepero, Chris Leitch, Sinisa Ubiparipovic, John Wolyniec

Misconduct Summary:
COL — Nick LaBrocca (caution; Reckless Tackle) 13
COL — Conor Casey (caution; Dissent) 35
NY — Carlos Mendes (caution; Reckless Foul) 61
NY — Andrew Boyens (caution; Reckless Tackle) 67
NY — Diego Jimenez (caution; Tactical Foul) 75
COL — Jacob Peterson (caution; Reckless Tackle) 94+

referee: Baldomero Toledo
Referee’s Assistants: Anthony Vasoli; Nate Clement
4th official: Lee Suckle
time of game: 1:53
attendance: 14,795
weather: Showers -and- 68 degrees

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Mbuta in, Megaloudis out

Posted on 16 September 2008 by ASN Staff

Red Bull New York announced Tuesday, Sept. 16 that it had signed midfielder Matthew Mbuta from Crystal Palace Baltimore of the United Soccer Leagues’ Second Division before Monday’s MLS Roster Freeze Deadline. To make room for Mbuta on the 28-man roster, the Red Bulls waived forward Chris Meglaoudis. Per team and League policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Mbuta is waiting for approval on his P-1 visa before he can play for the Red Bulls.

“Matthew has impressed us over the past few weeks and we think he will help add pace and depth to our midfield,” said Sporting Director Jeff Agoos. “We also want to thank Chris for his hard work and dedication to the club and wish him the best in the future.”

Mbuta appeared in 17 games for Crystal Palace Baltimore, tallying two goals and two assists while helping the club to the USL-2 semifinals. In 2006, Mbuta was named to the USL-2 All-League First Team, playing in 16 games and scoring five goals and seven assists.

Prior to coming to the United States, Mbuta, 22, played for Duli Pengiran Muda Mahkota FC of the Malaysian Super League, where he scored three goals in eight matches. From 2004-06, the former Cameroonian Under-23 midfielder played for PWD de Bamenda of the Cameroonian First Division, helping PWD qualify for the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Cup. PWD adanced to the tournament’s quarterfinals and Mbuta scored five goals. Mbuta has also enjoyed trials at Arsenal FC and West Ham United of the English Premier League in 2006.

Megaloudis made one regular season appearance for the Red Bulls on June 18. The Puerto Rican international was signed by New York on April 4, 2008 and he made six starts for the Red Bulls Reserves, scoring one goal.

Player Fact File

#14 Matthew Mbuta
Position: Midfielder
Height: 5-9
Weight: 152 lbs
Day of Birth: Dec. 21, 1985
Hometown: Yaounde, Cameroon
Last Club: Crystal Palace Baltimore (USL-2)
How Acquired: Signed by New York on September 16, 2008.
Status: Developmental/International

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