New York Soccer: Matt Pickens

RBNY Recap: Nyassi's hat trick helps Rapids rock Red Bulls

July, 21, 2011
7/21/11
1:24
AM ET
Who knew being a mile high could leave the Red Bulls feeling so low?

Sanna Nyassi carved up the Red Bulls defense for his first career hat trick as the Colorado Rapids collected a 4-1 victory at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on Wednesday. The Gambian midfielder, whose offensive outburst eased the Rapids' loss of forward Conor Casey for the season, factored in on all four Colorado goals -- including Colorado's first hat trick since August 2009 -- in what was only his seventh start of the season.

Despite maintaining a 60.4%-to-39.6% edge in possession, New York only directed three of their 12 shots on target and only one in the first half. Thierry Henry accounted for two of those three shots, which includes his league-leading 10th goal of the season.

The loss leaves New York (6-5-11, 29 pts) looking up from second place in the Eastern Conference at the Philadelphia Union (8-4-7, 31 pts), who collected a 1-0 win in a friendly against Everton of the English Premier League on Wednesday.

248. That's how many minutes the scoreless drought had extended for New York -- or 338 minutes, if you include the 4-0 loss to the Chicago Fire in the US Open Cup quarterfinal -- before Henry collected a Juan Agudelo cross and cleverly tucked it low and inside the far post in the 67th minute for the visiting side's only goal.

Of course, Colorado already held a 4-0 lead when Henry put a crooked number on the score sheet for the Red Bulls. But this is as close as you will get to any kind of moral victory for what transpired on Wednesday.

Play of the Game: The Goal Nyassi Didn't Score. It should be noted that Wells Thompson could not score the Rapids' second goal of the game without Nyassi's help, but it was the course of events leading up to it which best represents New York's rocky night.

After Rapids 'keeper Matt Pickens disrupts a Mehdi Ballouchy attempt to link a lob ball to the forwards, Pickens sends a lateral pass to the right flank where the ball bounces between a few Colorado players. A series of short passes eventually leaves the ball at the feet of Marvell Wynne, who lobs a long ball that ricochets off Red Bulls center back Carlos Mendes and into a gap in the Rapids' attacking zone.

A sprinting Nyassi picks up the deflection and immediately sends a shot from distance off the far post, which Thompson picks up and fires past a diving but ultimately helpless Frank Rost for the goal.

Nice touch passing by Colorado. Blown coverage by the Red Bulls back line that leaves Nyassi wide open. Rost left out to dry. One goal could not sum up the Red Bulls' troubles on Wednesday any better than that.

Don't Fear the 'Keeper. In recent weeks, Red Bulls supporters would cite the occasional Bouna blunder or Sutton slip to explain a perceived inconsistency in the club's goalkeeping efforts.

Wednesday's tilt should shake that sentiment immediately. Nyassi ran right through a center back pairing of Mendes and Tim Ream that entered the match with a mandate to keep Casey's successor at bay. They simply had no answer for Nyassi's speed and quick reflexes and largely watched him roast Rost all evening.

Rost gets his share of the blame for being the man between the posts on the wrong side of a rout, but he did what he could including a nice save that prevented Thompson from getting a brace.

Even legendary German 'keeper Oliver Kahn would not have fared any better with such a poor defensive effort from a club that signed a shot stopper as its third designated player to cover up these troubles.

Minus 11. That's the interception differential for the Red Bulls, who picked off 10 balls as compared to 21 by Colorado.

It was merely a minus two before the half (eight interceptions for the Rapids, six for the Red Bulls), but that disparity illustrates how the Rapids defense -- led by the efforts of Drew Moor and team captain Pablo Mastroeni -- kept New York at arm's length from the penalty area all evening. Not only did the Rapids cut off the Red Bulls' passing lanes, they shut them down by assuming possession.

House of Horrors. New York, who now trail by two losses in the all-time series against the Rapids (Colorado leads 16-14-5), has not won a match in the Centennial State since a 1-0 victory at Colorado on July 8, 2007.

The Red Bulls have only accrued one win in eight matches since then with a 3-1 win last September, although they defeated the Rapids at Red Bull Arena in US Open Cup play in May 2010.

Unlike a pilot mishap on Tuesday that left the club arriving in the wrong airport, New York likely won't care which airport lets them leave their poor performance behind as they head home to face FC Dallas at Red Bull Arena on Saturday. First kick is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.

Rapid Reaction: Red Bulls 2, Rapids 2

May, 25, 2011
5/25/11
10:13
PM ET
The New York Red Bulls and the Colorado Rapids played to a 2-2 draw on Wednesday evening at Red Bull Arena. Colorado twice took the lead in the first half courtesy of two goals by Rapids midfielder Jeff Larentowicz. New York quickly answered each goal with successive strikes by Thierry Henry and Luke Rodgers.

By earning one point in the standings from the draw, the Red Bulls draw even with the Philadelphia Union atop the Eastern Conference standings with both clubs resuming action on Saturday.

Piece of Set. Once again, the Red Bulls conceded both goals from set pieces. Larentowicz opened the scoring in the 27' minute after finishing a rebound from his own penalty kick. He later helped Colorado regain the lead in the 33' minute from a free kick just to the right of the arc. New York led in possession throughout the game -- the Rapids did not get their first touch in the attacking zone until 7:34 into the match -- but cost themselves two more goals from bad fouls near their own penalty area.

Play of the Game: Ream's Kick Save on Casey. Perhaps Red Bulls coach Hans Backe should add his star sophomore into the goalkeeper conversation. With 'keeper Greg Sutton off his line, Tim Ream found himself in the 76' minute as the only thing standing in between Conor Casey and a Rapids' game-winning goal. Ream, while standing on the goal line, picked up the path of Casey's kick and batted it away from net. That gives Ream two bailout saves on the season, with the first coming on a Landon Donovan kick during the 1-1 draw to the LA Galaxy earlier this seaosn.

Ream quarterbacked an effective back line that endured the absence of Rafael Marquez, who missed Wednesday's game due to a groin injury. And he single-handedly saved the game for New York by inadvertently stepping in for Sutton.

Call and Answer. Although the Red Bulls surrendered two goals due to their ongoing free kick foibles, they responded in kind before the Rapids could truly savor the lead.

Two minutes after Larentowicz's first goal, Henry picked up a pinpoint cross from Dwayne De Rosario and buried it on the right side of the net. Larentowicz would score his second goal two minutes later, only to have Rodgers pick up a Roy Miller pass on the right side and lob it over the head of Rapids 'keeper Matt Pickens for the equalizer.

The four goals in six minutes was the fastest in a game involving the Red Bulls, and the first occurrence since the San Jose Earthquakes and Houston Dynamo accomplished the frenetic feat on March 28, 2009.

Feeling Possessed. The Red Bulls dominated possession at a 62%-to-38% clip, but failed to capitalize on it in the first half with several failed lob passes from the back line. New York kept the ball on the ground more effectively in the second half, with no positive results to show for it.

Odds and Ends. The Red Bulls learned before the match that De Rosario, Ream, and Juan Agudelo will join the club in its away trip this weekend before departing the team for international duty. Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas and striker Robert Van Persie were among the 18,101 fans in attendance at Red Bull Arena.

The Red Bulls will take their four-game winless streak out West as they visit the expansion Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday at Empire Field. First kick is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

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