COLUMBUS - Luis Robles saved a penalty kick to keep the match scoreless and his New York teammates rewarded his effort just moments later when Tim Cahill scored in the 80th minute to give the streaking Red Bulls a 1-0 win against Columbus on Saturday.
Cahill was in position in front of the goal for a header that looped over Andy Gruenebaum after the goalkeeper made a save on a strike from the left side by Jonny Steele.
Cahill has now scored three goals in the past two games for the Red Bulls (5-4-2), who have won three straight overall and are 3-0-2 against the Crew since 2010. They've also moved into first place in the Eastern Conference following the Montreal Impact's draw against the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.
The Crew (3-3-3) had their 8-0-4 unbeaten streak in Crew Stadium over two seasons snapped and let a possible result slip away when Robles stopped Crew midfielder Federico Higuaín's penalty in the 72nd minute.
Higuaín used the same stutter-step move he used while scoring on a penalty kick last week against D.C. United, but Robles was ready and made a diving stop to his right.
Eddie Gaven drew the penalty when he was tackled at the top of the box by New York defender Brandon Barklage shortly after receiving an entry pass from Josh Williams.
Robles had to come up big again a minute later after Higuaín sent a sizzling free kick from 35 yards. Robles got in front of the ball but it went off him and spun over the goal for a corner. On the ensuing dead ball attempt, Robles denied a Williams header.
Robles also came up huge on a close-range attempt by Jairo Arrieta in the 92nd minute, the last of his five saves on the day.
The first half was fraught with half chances but neither side could find a finishing touch in the final third as much of the game was controlled in the middle of the pitch
If there was a territorial advantage it belonged to the Crew with four corner kicks and three free kicks compared to one corner for the Red Bulls.
But New York had all the key spots covered and Higuain was unable to have any impact with the Crew's numerous restarts.
Arrieta had one of the best looks for Columbus as he darted between two defenders and ripped a 17-yarder in the 34th minute that tailed outside the right post. However, he was also guilty of being offside three times in the opening minutes after being whistled only twice in his previous six matches.
Columbus' other opportunity came in the 28th as Dominic Oduro sliced a volley over the crossbar.
New York found space in the 39th minute and Cahill found himself unmarked at the top of the penalty area but badly hit the ball into the south stands to keep the match scoreless and it took until the 50th minute for the first shot on goal.
New York face a quick turnaround to host Montreal on Wednesday, while the Crew complete a three-game homestand May 11 vs. Colorado.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Luis Robles||Despite an iffy moment in the second half, the PK save kept the Red Bulls alive. Another late save on Arrieta sealed the deal.|
|2||Tim Cahill||It wasn't his best game by a mile, but right place, right time. How long can he keep it up?|
|3||Josh Williams||Quickly emerging as one of the steadiest right backs in the league, and set up Gaven's streak into the box.|