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May 26, 2013

PK draws ire of Red Bulls

HARRISON, N.J. -- New York Red Bulls coach Mike Petke was so miffed after a 2-2 tie with the Columbus Crew that he invited Major League Soccer to fine him as much it wants.

While ripping his team for a poor performance despite getting an injury time goal from defender Jamison Olave to extend the Red Bulls' unbeaten streak to seven games -- their best in 10 years -- Petke savaged referee Geoff Gamble for awarding a 74th-minute penalty kick that allowed the Crew to take a 2-1 lead Sunday.

"That's a guy in my estimation who is getting ready for the Memorial Day weekend and wanted to be a part of the show," Petke said. "That's what it is to me and I don't care what the league fines me. Those decisions and those types of things cost jobs."

The play that infuriated Petke came after the Crew's Eddie Gaven centered a pass that Justin Meram. The forward took the pass in stride in the box and then seemed to flub his shot. As the ball popped into the air, Kosuke Kimura knocked him down and Gamble pointed to the penalty spot.

"I'm not blaming the refs for us not winning," Petke said. "I don't think we did enough to win. We're going to have games like that, but to give them that PK is shocking."

Gamble told a pool reporter he had a clear view of the play.

"The defender pushed the attacker in the back, which is a penal offense, which then resulted in a penalty kick," he said.

Federico Higuain converted the penalty kick and for the next 16 minutes it seemed like the game winner, especially after Columbus goaltender Andy Gruenebaum stopped a hard shot by Juninho from the top of the box in the 83rd minute and defender Kevan George cleared a header by Olave off the goal line minutes later.

Olave, however, took a pass from Jonathan Steele in the box in the opening minute of injury time, settled the ball and ripped a shot high into the left corner to extend the Red Bulls' recent run to 5-0-2.

"More than rescuing a point, it feels like we lost two points," Olave said. "We're at home and you should always play to win when you are at home. It's a shame the way we played. You should always come out looking for the win but it was a good effort at the end."

Olave was as certain as Petke that the referee made the wrong call on the PK.

"The player miskicks the ball and falls to the ground after he miskicks the ball," Olave said. "There is a player chasing him from behind but there is nothing to be done after he miskicks the ball. That in my opinion is not a penalty kick."

Red Bulls captain Thierry Henry, who scored their other goal, refused to comment on the ruling.

Dominic Oduro also scored for the Crew, who are 0-3-3 in their last six games against the Red Bulls. Columbus, however, picked up four points on its two-game road trip.

"If somebody would have given us a point before the game we would have taken it," Crew coach Robert Warzycha said. "But I don't think that's the right thing to say because I think we play well on the road. We've won three on the road so this is a little disappointing."

Henry had tied the game at 1-all in the 31st minute on a mistake by George, who was making his first start. Tim Cahill, who scored a late game-winning goal against on May 4, sent a long pass from midfield that George went up to head and missed. Henry ran onto the ball and deftly chipped it over Gruenebaum.

Columbus took the lead in the second minute after a poor clearing header by Olave. Gaven intercepted the ball at the top of the box and Oduro seemingly took the ball off his teammate's boot. He avoided a tackle by Olave, fought off a shoulder challenge by Markus Holgersson and slid the ball past a sliding goaltender Luis Robles for his team-high sixth goal.

Oduro injured his right thigh on the goal when Robles slid into him and he left the game six minutes later.

"The big picture for me is we won in Toronto and tied New York," Crew defender Tyson Wahl said. "Those are positive away results and we had guys step in who hadn't had a lot of minutes. While the reality is we want to do better on the (tying goal) we should take the positives and use the away results as momentum."

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