It took awhile, but New York Red Bulls (NYRB) II broke through with a goal in the 69th minute and ultimately defeated the Richmond Kickers, 1-0, in the team’s first game at MSU Soccer Park. Zeiko Lewis scored the team’s lone goal as NYRB II earned their first three points of the 2017 season.
NYRB II squandered an early scoring opportunity when Junior Flemmings deflected a header by Justin Bilyeu just wide of the net in the game’s 11th minute. NYRB II struggled to find another dangerous scoring opportunity in the first half as the Kickers sat back and interrupted chances in the final third. Despite holding possession for 63.1 percent of the first half, NYRB II went into halftime tied 0-0 with the Richmond Kickers.
Coming out of halftime, Flemmings had a goal called back on an offside’s call in the 50th minute. After struggling to manufacture quality chances in the first half, NYRB II stretched the field, played through the wings and began to breakdown Richmond’s defense. NYRB II defender Hassan Ndam sent a bicycle kick on net off a corner kick and the ball bounced around in the box until Lewis sent the ball into the net for NYRB II’s first goal at MSU Soccer Park.
The Richmond Kickers sent a shot just wide of the post in the game’s 85th minute. Eventually, NYRB II held on for a 1-0 victory in their second game of the season.
Home Sweet Home
NYRB II turned MSU Soccer Park red on Saturday. With an announced attendance of 806 fans, the atmosphere was different than the typical Montclair State University soccer game. The Rampage – NYRB II’s first supporters’ club – made their presence felt with unending chants and drumbeats throughout the game. MSU Soccer Park is a far cry from Red Bull Arena, but NYRB II put their stamp on Montclair State with a victory in their home debut.
Can’t Beat Bilyeu
NYRB II defender Justin Bilyeu, who spent some time with the first team in 2016, was rock solid at the center back position on Saturday. Bilyeu thwarted a Kickers’ opportunity with a great standing tackle near midfield in the 54th minute. Bilyeu played a mistake-free game and lead NYRB II’s sharp defensive effort.
NYRB II squandered more than a couple opportunities because of a series of miscues and miscommunication. Particularly in the first half, NYRB II weren’t sharp enough in the final third. Miscommunication caused a few passes to go awry and slipups on set pieces. Richmond compounded NYRB II’s problems by shrinking the field and playing staunch defense, but NYRB II looked more fluid in the second half. Whatever problems they had seemed to be alleviated, but NYRB II could have had an extra goal or two if not for the offensive miscues.
NYRB II will play at Red Bull Arena on Wednesday, April 5 against the Harrisburg City Islanders and will then go on the road to face St. Louis FC on April 8.