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GK Cepero comes up with unthinkable in debut for Red Bulls

Oct 19, 2008 - 3:41 AM By Simon Lewis PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Danny Cepero made his Major League Soccer debut an amazing one with a goal scored from inside his own half but admitted he had not seen the ball go into the net.

Cepero, 23, helped his team defeat the league-leading Columbus Crew, 3-1, at Giants Stadium on Saturday night and keep alive the hopes of a playoff appearance for New York.

Captain Juan Pablo Angel scored twice to leave the Red Bulls (10-10-9) needing a win in the final game of the regular season at Chicago on Thursday to be assured of a postseason berth. Columbus, who dropped to 16-7-6, had already qualified for the playoffs with the best record in the regular season.

Picked 46th overall by New York in the 2007 MLS supplemental draft, the Long Island native Cepero had only been given his first start following a positive doping test and 10-game suspension on Thursday for top goalkeeper Jon Conway. Defender Jeff Parke also tested positive for androstatriendione and boldenone metabolites, claiming he and Conway had unwittingly taken the banned substances in an over-the-counter supplement.

Showing no hint of any nerves, Cepero contributed to his team's cause at both ends, with a great reflex save to tip Ezra Hendrickson's close-range header over the goal just before halftime and then finish off the scoring with a free-kick from deep inside his own half that bounced over Columbus keeper Andy Gruenebaum and into the net in the 83rd minute.

The former University of Pennsylvania keeper revealed he had to ask Red Bulls defender Kevin Goldthwaite whether he had scored.

"I had no idea," Cepero said. "I just put it in the general area with no intention of scoring and kind of hit it somewhere where my teammates could do something with it.

"I didn't even know it went in until I had to ask Kevin and be like, 'Uh, did that go in?'"

Cepero's goal makes him the first keeper to score in MLS history.

"That's crazy to say the least," he said. "It's incredible. It's one of those random stats that I guess I can always look up and say 'Hey, there I am.'"

Cepero's efforts at both ends of the pitch earned praise from head coach Juan Carlos Osorio.

"I've never seen anything like that," Osorio said of the goal.

"All the credit goes to Danny, not for the free-kick but the outstanding save towards the end of the first half that kept us in the game and in the second half when the score was 2-1, I think he made a very good save also."

Osorio also praised his captain, Angel, after the Colombian opened the scoring in the 48th minute and struck again in the 76th to put the home side in front again following Steven Lenhart's 62nd-minute equalizer. But his warmest words were for his team's effort overall after bouncing back from the shock of losing two teammates to doping bans.

"I'm extremely proud of the guys today," Osorio said. "It was a fantastic effort and considering all the circumstances, the most pleasing thing is that we showed over the 90 minutes a great team spirit and the desire and the willingness to (overcome) adversity and at the end I think we got what we deserved."

Columbus Crew head coach Sigi Schmid promised his team would bounce back in next weekend's final game before the postseason run towards the MLS Cup final on November 23 in Carson, California.

"Our last game is at home and we're going to put our team back together and have a good week of training," Schmid said. "I think we eased off a bit this week for sure but now we want to push for these next five weeks."








  • MLS
    COLUMBUS 1
    NY RED BULLS 3 FINAL

    Oct 18 9:39 PM


  • MLS UPDATE
    COLUMBUS 1
    NY RED BULLS 3
    NY RED BULLS GOAL: Danny Cepero in the 83rd minute

    Crew SC 1, Red Bulls 3  2nd - 83'Oct 18 9:20 PM


  • MLS UPDATE
    COLUMBUS 1
    NY RED BULLS 2
    NY RED BULLS GOAL: Juan Pablo Angel in the 76th minute

    Crew SC 1, Red Bulls 2  2nd - 76'Oct 18 9:15 PM


  • MLS UPDATE
    COLUMBUS 1
    NY RED BULLS 1
    COLUMBUS GOAL: Steven Lenhart in the 62nd minute

    Crew SC 1, Red Bulls 1  2nd - 62'Oct 18 9:00 PM


  • MLS UPDATE
    COLUMBUS 0
    NY RED BULLS 1
    NY RED BULLS GOAL: Juan Pablo Angel in the 48th minute

    Crew SC 0, Red Bulls 1  2nd - 48'Oct 18 8:47 PM


  • MLS
    COLUMBUS 0
    NY RED BULLS 0 HALFTIME

    Oct 18 8:27 PM