Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper proved to be too much for Columbus on Saturday. Each scored twice in the 4-1 beating the New York Red Bulls gave to the Crew.
The game started off on a bad note for the home team after only three minutes of play. Henry chipped a ball into the box which found Cooper's chest. Cooper controlled the ball while backing down Crew defender Eric Gehrig. Cooper muscled Gehrig away from his body, giving him just enough space to turn and fire. His shot beat Columbus goalie Andy Gruenebaum at his near post and gave New York an early lead.
Ten minutes later, Cooper struck again. Midfielder Dane Richards' shot attempt from the the top-right of the box deflected off of Gehrig and looped toward the goal. Cooper peeled away from defender Chad Marshall and headed the ball into the ground. The ball had just the right amount of spin on it to roll into the left-corner of the goal and past Gruenebaum's diving hands.
Columbus' lackluster defensive effort continued, allowing the Red Bulls to go up 3-0 before the half. In the 40th minute, left-back Roy Miller slotted a through ball to Henry near the top-left side of the box. Henry received the pass, took one touch, and slotted the ball past a rushing Gruenebuam into the same corner which had welcomed the previous two goals.
More after the jump...However, the Crew's second-half effort made one wonder if the entire team had been switched out during the break. As a matter of fact, it wasn't the whole team, but Ethan Finlay and Dilly Duka coming on for Eddie Gaven (55th minute) and Bernardo Anor (57th minute) definitely made a positive impact. Finlay had a one-on-one opportunity to score in the 64th minute, but his shot was saved by New York goalie Ryan Meara.
Among all the chances Columbus garnered in the second half, no one had better opportunities to score than forward Emilio Renteria. Renteria had three clear chances to score, and, honestly, the Venezuelan should have finished better. He is goalless through the Crew's first four games.
Rookie Kirk Urso showed off his shooting ability in the 72nd minute, striking the cross bar from a long-distance effort that dipped over Meara's hands but couldn't dip under the post.
Throughout the year, Urso's free-kicks have been dangerous. The Crew were finally able to take advantage of his crosses in the 89th minute. Urso's corner kick found Chad Marshall, who headed the ball down and past Meara. Even if the game was almost certainly decided, it was nice for the home fans to be able to celebrate Marshall's goal in what was his 200th start with the club.
The celebrations were short lived, however. Just one minute later, midfielder Joel Lindpere beat two Crew players on the left flank before dribbling toward goal. He crossed to Henry, who took one touch before volleying a rocket past Gruenebuam for his league-leading seventh goal this year. Henry's second goal of the game finished off a fine offensive performance from MLS's most dangerous team so far in this young season.