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The Red Bulls blow it again
by Ridge Mahoney, August 6th, 2009 7AM
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[CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE] Leave it to the worst team in Major League Soccer to blow the league's best chance of advancing to the group phase of the Concacaf Champions' League. New York took two away goals and a 2-2 aggregate into its home leg at Giants Stadium on Wednesday, and in the first half increased its edge by scoring the first goal. Rather salvaging some semblance of accomplishment in a dismal season, the Red Bulls reverted to the ineptitude that has defined their performance in 2009, which includes MLS's worst record and preliminary-round U.S. Open Cup elimination.

Final score: New York 1, W Connection 2. On a 4-3 aggregate, the Trinidad & Tobago representative advances, and New York finds a new bottom to a season already crashing through the sub-cellar. Andre Toussaint's two goals late in the first half erased an early tally by John Wolyniec and doomed New York to perhaps the most distressing defeat of an abysmal season.

Wolyniec replaced Juan Pablo Angel, scratched from the lineup on the morning of the match due to after effects of a Grade 2 concussion he suffered last week in the first leg. Angel had played the entire 90 minutes in Marabella and trained during the week, but team doctor Riley Williams decided to remove him from the lineup. A strained hamstring sidelined Mac Kandji.

New York led, 1-0, after Wolyniec put away a pass from Jorge Rojas in the 19th minute, and should have increased its advantage against a reeling opponent. Dane Richards shot wide in the 27th minute and a few minutes later Rojas drilled a feed from Jeremy Hall that keeper Marvin Phillips blocked at point-blank range.

Despite falling behind, W Connection caused some panic with its speed and daring, and a substitution by Coach Stuart Charles Fevrier soon yielded results. He replaced William De Oliveira with Matthew Bartholemew, and a jittery Red Bulls' defense quickly succumbed.

In the 40th minute Toussaint dribbled at Seth Stammler into the penalty area and drove a shot along the turf inside the far post. As stoppage time began he simply stuck out his foot to intercept an asinine square ball played by Kevin Goldthwaite, and stuck it past keeper Danny Cepero to wipe out New York's away-goal edge and take a 4-3 aggregate lead.

Red Bulls coach Juan Carlos Osorio brought on Danleigh Borman, Sinisa Ubiparipovic and Matthew Mbuta during the second half in an attempt to get the goal that would force overtime.

Albert Celades forced a save from Phillip with a dipping shot in the 63 rd minute, and about 10 minutes later again aimed at goal but hit this attempt wide.

A decisive tackle by Mike Petke on Hughton Hector blocked what would have been a clinching W Connection goal in the final minutes, and deep into stoppage time Mbuta whiffed on a close-range chance to end the match on an incredible, yet appropriate note.

W Connection joins Pumas UNAM (Mexico), CSD Comunicaciones (Guatemala) and the winner of the Liberia Mia (Costa Rica) vs. Real CD Espana (Honduras) series. Where the Red Bulls go from here, is anybody's guess.

Concacaf Champions League
Preliminary round, second leg
Aug. 5 in East Rutherford, N.J.
New York 1, W Connection 2. (3-4 on aggregate)

Goals: Wolyniec (Rojas) 19; Touissaint 40, 46+.
New York - Cepero; Hall, Petke, Goldthwaite (Mbuta, 80), Pacheco (Borman, 46), Stammler, Rojas (Ubiparipovic, 55), Celades, Oebster, Richards, Wolyniec.
W Connection - Phillip, Cupid, Pereira (Arias Angullo, 82), Joseph, De Oliveira (Bartholemew, 38), Hector, Leon, Touissaint, Viveros, Williams, Navarro (Pacheco, 77).
Referee: Paul Ward
Attendance: 6,549

 



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