[MLS]The Red Bulls wound up their preseason by beating one of only two teams to top them last year in elimination matches. At the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., New York defeated Crystal Palace Baltimore (USL-2) with goals by Khano Smith at the tail end of the first half and ex-Palace midfielder Matt Mbuta early in the second period.
Spanish midfielder Alberto Celades, whose signing was announced Wednesday, sat out the match with a bruised thigh. Another player who has been training and playing with the team for the past month as a deal is finalized, right back Carlos Johnson, played the second half. Coach Juan Carlos Osorio changed nearly all of his starters at halftime, though keeper Danny Cepero went the full 90.
Mbuta was among the Eagles who beat New York, 2-0, in the 2008 U.S. Open Cup third round last July despite playing a man down after the 35th minute. He went on trial with the MLS club in September and signed a league contract a week later. (The other team to beat New York in a knockout match was Columbus, 3-1, in MLS Cup 2008.)
Smith scored in the 45th minute with the Red Bulls' second good scoring chance of the first half. Dane Richards had fired a shot on goal that keeper Brian Rowlandsaved; Smith found better luck when a Juan Pablo Angel dummied a bouncing serve from Jeremy Hall that Smith tucked past Rowland.
Mbuta polished off a low ball from forward partner John Wolyniec two minutes after they'd stepped onto the field as substitutes for the second half.
Besides Cepero, defenders Mike Petke, Jack Traynor and Kevin Goldthwaite were the only Red Bulls to play more than 45 minutes in the team's final tune-up for the league opener Thursday against expansion Sounders FC in Seattle.
March 12 in Annapolis, Md.
Crystal Palace Baltimore 0, New York 2
Goals: Smith (Hall) 45, Mbuta (Wolyniec) 47.
CPB --Rowland (Chiles 78'), dos Anjos (Flores 46'), Marshall, Robson, Dougnaglo (Lader 46'), Ughiovhe, Harada, Seabrook, Wolfe, Barbosa (Gnatiko 46'), Teixeira.
New York (1st Half) -- Cepero, Traynor (Petke 27'), Goldthwaite, Sassano, Hall, Stammler, Smith, Richards, Rojas, Kandji, Angel
New York(2nd Half) -- Cepero, Goldthwaite (Traynor 64'), Petke, Mendes, Johnson, Pietravallo, Ubiparipovic, Zimmerman, Oduro, Mbuta, Wolyniec.