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MLS: New York Red Bulls Honor Mike Petke with 1-0 Win over Sporting KC

Cesar Diaz@@gritwriterCorrespondent IIMay 1, 2011

Luke Rodgers continues to impress Red Bulls fans. (Photograph courtesy of Bill Menzel)
Luke Rodgers continues to impress Red Bulls fans. (Photograph courtesy of Bill Menzel)

Harrison, NJ - On the night the New York Red Bulls honored former defender and current individual development coach and business operations manager Mike Petke in a pregame ceremony, the Red Bulls won 1-0 over Sporting Kansas City.

After losing 1-0 to the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park three weeks ago, the Red Bulls have won three consecutive games by a a combined score of 8-0. With the win, the Red Bulls have regained sole position of the Eastern Conference lead where they are currently competing against the Philadelphia Union, Houston Dynamo and Columbus Crew in this young 2011 MLS season.

For Sporting Kansas City, their downward-spiral continues. Since losing designated player Omar Bravo because of a sports-hernia injury, they've lost for the third consecutive time while remaining in last place in the Eastern Conference. Despite their losses, Kansas City has continued to play valiantly for the past three weeks as lost each contest on a one-goal differential.

For Kansas City, this was their sixth consecutive road game. Due to the Livestrong Sporting Park still under construction, Kansas City was left with no other alternative than to begin their 2011 MLS campaign with 10-road games. Their record of 1-4-1 does not reflect the effort of Kansas City, as they've been outscored 13-11 through the first six games of the season.

For the Red Bulls, they played at Red Bull Arena in of front 20,636. Despite their recent onslaught, the Red Bulls weren't able to win in convincing fashion against Sporting Kansas City. Despite taking eight shots on goal in the first half, Kansas City for the most part disrupted the Red Bulls flow.

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In the 13th minute of the match, the Red Bulls were awarded a penalty kick after Kansas City's Stephane Auvray was called for a foul on Dwayne Del Rosario. Taking the penalty kick was Rafa Marquez who would have given the Red Bulls a 1-0 lead had he not squandered his opportunity.

Still struggling to find his rhythm in New York is Dwayne De Rosario. Despite demonstrating moments of brilliance, De Rosario has yet to score a goal. However, he did play a critical role as he assisted Luke Rodgers for the only goal of the match.

Accepting a laser-pointed pass from Dwayne De Rosario, Luke Rodgers continued to increase his fanbase amongst the faithful at Red Bull Arena when he scored his third goal of the season. Scoring in the 22nd minute, Rodgers' blasted the ball past Jimmy Nielsen for the 1-0 lead.Β 

Following Rodgers' score, the Red Bulls weren't able to further capitalize on their opportunity to score. Despite the team's effort to produce more goals, Kansas City excelled in stifling New York's offense. Withstanding the rejuvenated play of Thierry Henry, who with the support of Dane Richards, Luke Rodgers and Joel Lindpere failed to produce additional goals.

For the remainder of the match, both teams defensively matched each other well. Kansas City appeared to be the better second half team, as the as the Red Bulls were called for seven fouls while giving up eight shots.

Despite Kansas City's efforts, the Red Bulls held on to win. Next up for New York is a road game against the Los Angeles Galaxy. Playing away at the Home Depot Center, the Red Bulls hopes to win their fourth consecutive game against the Western Conference's best team.

Other MLS Results

Saturday, April 30 2011, was filled with seven matches. Playing at home at the PPL Park, the under-manned Philadelphia Union defeated the San Jose Earthquakes 1-0. Giving the Union the victory was Sebastien Le Toux's successful penalty kick in the 76th.

With the win, Philadelphia temporarily regained the Eastern Conference lead (prior to NY's victory) over the Houston Dynamo who had trounced D.C. United 4-1 on Friday Night. Leading the way for Houston was Will Bruin, who exploded for for a hat-trick.

Over at Crew Stadium, the Columbus Crew defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2-1. Emilio Renteria's two-goal performance in the second half helped neutralize Vancouver, despite a goal from the Whitecaps No. 1 pick Omar Salgado reducing Columbus' lead 2-1.

Desperately needing to end their three-game losing streak, the defending MLS Cup champion Colorado Rapids rallied to tie the Chicago Fire at the Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Scoring the equalizer was was Rapids Andre Apkan whose first MLS goal helped stop the soccer hemorrhage they were suffering.

A week after losing Steve Zakuani, who suffered a broken right tibia and fibula in a 1-0 win over the Colorado Rapids on a horrendous tackle from Colorado's Brian Mullan, the Sounders emphatically demolished Toronto FC 3-0 at Qwest Field. Leading the way for the Sounders was Alvaro Fernandez, who scored early, and Brad Evans' two-goal performance.Β 

Playing at home at the Home Depot Center, Chivas USA ended the New England Revolution's two-game winning streak with a 3-0 rout. Scoring for Chivas USA was Nick LaBrocca (22nd min), Marcos Mondaini (45th min) and Alejandro Moreno (57min).

Remaining undefeated at the JELD-WEN Field, the Portland Timbers returned home to defeat CONCACAF Champions League runner-ups Real Salt Lake 1-0. Scoring the game winner for the Timbers was Kenny Cooper, who scored in the 22nd of the match. For the duration of the match, Portland excelled defensively as they as never relinquished their lead.

Cesar Diaz covers Soccer for LatinoSports.com. He's also a Columnist for USSoccerPlayers.com; your source for American Soccer news brought to you by members of the U.S. National Team. Easily accessible, you may reach Cesar at cesar@latinosports.com and at Twitter at @CoveringSoccer.

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