RED BULLS BASHED

New York Red Bulls Thierry Henry scored his eighth goal of the season during the DC United match.
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

The New York Red Bulls (3-3-1), still suffering from poor defensive play, were clobbered to the tune of 4-1 at DC United on Sunday night. When Thierry Henry lost the ball at midfielder, no one stepped up quickly enough to stop Chris Pontius 30-yard shot in the eighth minute to put DC United ahead, 1-0. New player Victory Palsson was goal-side of the play and just watched, instead of reacting to the loss of possession.

In the 32nd minute, the Red Bulls’ weak defensive play was evident again as Maicon Santos swiveled his way around three Red Bulls players – Jan Gunnar Solli, Stephen Keel and Palsson – and sent a low, hard pass across New York’s goal, but rookie Connor Lade failed to clear the ball and Pontius made use of the gift from inside the six-yard box for a 2-0 lead.

Nick De Leon – son of former Trinidad and Tobago and NASL midfielder, Leroy De Leon – made it 3-0 in the 35th minute; again, another turnover at midfield, this time by Palsson, and a late reaction by Red Bulls players as Lade was ridden off the ball by DC United forward Danny Cruz for the three-goal half time deficit.

Pontius completed his hat trick in the 69th minute when he danced around defender Markus Holgersson and penetrated the defense. Thierry Henry scored his eighth goal of the season in the 72nd minute from a 23-yard free kick. DC United and Montreal Impact played to a 1-1 on Wednesday, three days before it hosted the Red Bulls.

New York Red Bulls coach Hans Backe made a strange substitution when he replaced midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy with Joel Lindpere early in the second half; Palsson should have been the player replaced because he was lost throughout the game. His reaction to cover fellow midfielders was slow and his lost of possession in front of the Red Bulls goal led to DC United’s third goal. St. John ‘s University’s Jhonny Arteaga and defender Tyler Ruthven made their MLS debuts for the New York Red Bulls.

MLS to take a goal line stand

Major League Soccer is taking the lead on a very controversial topic and would like to implement goal-line technology this summer if the move is approved by FIFA, soccer governing body. FIFA’s Rules arm, the International Football Association, will make a decision on the MLS proposal at a meeting on July 2.

“We’re interested in being a test league and we hope that we could achieve that,’’ MLS Commissioner Don Garber said Thursday while speaking to the Associated Press Sports Editors. “I would be open to whatever it is that could be done to ensure that we have goal-line technology.’’

The timing of MLS’ proposal to have more definitive decisions on whether the ball completely crossed the goal line to award a goal comes at a very good time in light of much recent controversy on goals awarded in the presence of doubt as whether the entire ball crossed the goal line.

The latest row occurred during a very competitive London derby (territorial rivalry between two London clubs) when an English referee awarded Chelsea FC a goal against Tottenham Hotspurs in the English FA Cup semifinal two weeks ago. Replays shows conclusively that the ball did not cross the goal line during a frantic scramble in front of Tottenham’s goal; later after the game, the referee felt compelled to apologize to the Tottenham’s coach Harry Redknapp for the blunder.

The technological devices being considered for approval are the Sony Corporation’s Hawk-Eye and GoalRef, owned by a German-Danish company. Both devices send a signal to the referee within a second of the entire ball crossing the goal line. The MLS commissioner said, upon approval, the technology could be used in MLS this season.

Garber also said that the league wants to improve the game and points to the MLS’ policy of utilizing video reviews to punish players for simulation and fouls, which he said was working. Recently, New York Red Bulls’ Rafael Marquez escaped being carded for a blatant foul on San Jose Earthquake’s midfielder Shea Salinas during a recent game at Red Bull Arena, but on video review, the Mexican international was subsequently suspended for three games.

In other MLS news, Garber said that MLS was interested in former Real Madrid legend and Spain forward Raul Gonzalez coming to the USA when his two-year contract with Schalke of the German Bundesliga expires this summer. Raul is 35 and is Real Madrid’s all-time leading scorer.

The commissioner also reiterated the leagues long-time desire to have a franchise in New York City. According to Garber, the league is very interest in having its next club, the 20th franchise, in New York and talks are centered first on a stadium, before focusing on several groups that are interested in owning the New York MLS franchise. Other markets for future expansion, according to Garber, include Miami, Orlando and Atlanta. On a note about attendance figures this season, the commissioner added that with the addition of Montreal this year, average attendance in the league is 19,493 through 53 games, up 12 percent from 17,370 at this point last year.

MLS

Sporting Kansas City (7-1) lost its first MLS game this season when second-year expansion club Portland Timbers (2-4-1) earned a 1-0 victory to halt Sporting’s win streak at seven. ‘’It definitely gets one off our backs,’’ said Timbers goal keeper Troy Perkins, who earned his 50th career win with the shutout. Perkins and the Timbers will take the win even though it resulted from an own goal; Sporting defender Chance Myers headed the ball past his own goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen in the 41st minute for the Timbers win.

“Look, I hate losing, but I have to put into context. If we came in here and didn’t play well I think the guys would be feeling a bit different,’’ Sporting coach Peter Vermes said. “Overall, I think our guys are happy with the way they played.’’ In mid-week play on the previous Wednesday, Sporting KC had extended its winning streak to seven games with a 3-1 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps.

In other MLS action last Saturday, the Chicago Fire knocked Toronto FC, 3-2; Columbus Crew and Houston Dynamo played to a 2-2 draw; the Los Angeles Galaxy topped the Colorado Rapids, 2-1; Vancouver got past Dallas FC, 1-0; San Jose Earthquakes keep rolling up the wins as it beat Western Conference leader Real Salt Lake, 3-1; and the Philadelphia Union got its second straight win of the season, a 1-0 victory over Chivas USA.

Hejduk Retires

Former U.S. national team defender and MLS veteran Frankie Hejduk retired from soccer last Wednesday. The 37-year-old Hejduk played for the U.S. in the 1998 World Cup in France and the 2002 FIFA tournament, hosted jointly by South Korea and Japan. He also represented the U.S. at the Olympics in the USA in 1996 and in the 2000 tournament.

Hejduk’s 12-year MLS career stated with the Tampa Bay Mutiny from 1996-98, before a move to the Columbus Crew, which lasted several years, including 2008 when the Crew won MLS Cup. He was a member of the Los Angeles Galaxy champion season in 2011.

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