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Red Bulls have red-card problem
by Ridge Mahoney, April 24th, 2009 7:01AM

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[MLS] Ahead by a goal and up a man for nearly the entire match, host Kansas City squandered several chances to put the game away yet maintained the status quo and beat New York, 1-0, Thursday at CommunityAmerica Ballpark in front of 10,385 fans. The Red Bulls' Carlos Johnson's red card in the second minute was the fastest in MLS history and the second in two games for the Costa Rican MLS newcomer.

Claudio Lopez converted a penalty kick awarded when Red Bulls right back Carlos Johnson fouled him inside the penalty area. The foul earned a red card from referee Michael Kennedy and though the Red Bulls trailed for nearly the entire match, they refused to buckle and kept the issue in doubt until the end.

For the second time in as many games, right back Johnson incurred a red card to leave his team a man short. He'd been sent off two weeks ago in a 0-0 tie with Houston in his first MLS start; less than two minutes into this game, he felled Lopez just inside the penalty area, and referee Kennedy dismissed him for denying a goalscoring opportunity.

Lopez sent keeper Jon Conway the wrong way to score his second goal of the season and give goalie Kevin Hartman and his defenders an early lead they held all the way to the final whistle.

In last weekend's 2-0 win over Real Salt Lake, rookie Jeremy Hall was red-carded.

The Wizards needed heroics from Hartman to preserve the victory, as had been the case last week when they rallied from a 2-0 deficit to catch Chicago at the wire in a 2-2 tie.

In the final minute, Juan Pablo Angel reached a flick and sent the ball goalward from close range, but Hartman's alert charge blocked the attempt. It was one of four shots on the night for Angel, who despite not scoring appears sharper and more dangerous than he did in the first few games of the season.

Still, New York (1-3-2) is the poorest offensive team in MLS with just three goals in six games. Of its 11 shots, only two - both by Angel - were on goal. Macoumba Kandji, who scored one goal and set up Angel for the other last weekend in a 2-0 win over Real Salt Lake, rarely shook free from the Wizards defense and drilled his best chance over the crossbar in the 29th minute. The only other Red Bull goal scored this season is an own goal by Revs defender Jay Heaps.

Kansas City coach Curt Onalfo sent out the same starting lineup for the fourth straight game, but was forced to make an early change when a fierce collision left midfielder Jack Jewsbury dazed with a possible concussion. Michael Harrington replaced him in the 32nd minute. Onalfo also used substitutes Roger Espinoza and Michael Kraus as the Wizards ran their record to 3-0-1 in those past four games and 3-2-1 overall.

Conway kept his team in the match by stopping Herculez Gomez twice in the final minutes of the first half, and turning away an Aaron Holbein header midway through the second period. In his second game back after serving a 10-match suspension, Conway finished with five saves.

Both teams resume action Sunday. The Red Bulls host D.C. United and Kansas City plays at Toronto FC.

April 23 in Kansas City

Kansas City 1 New York 0. Goal: Lopez pen. 3.
Kansas City - Hartman, Watson, Conrad, Hohlbein, Besler (Espinoza, 67), Hirsig, Arnaud, Jewsbury (Harrington, 32), Gomez (Kraus, 77), Wolff, Lopez.
New York - Conway, Johnson, Goldthwaite, Mendes (Ubiparipovic, 77), Pacheco, Mbuta, Rojas (Sassano, 46), Stammler, Borman, Angel, Kandji (Richards, 59).
Yellow Cards: Kansas City - Conrad 29, Besler 64.
Red Card: New York - Johnson 2.
Referee: Michael Kennedy.
Att.: 10,385.


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