After facing off over a month ago, New York Red Bulls (NYRB) II (2-2-2) and the Harrisburg City Islanders (2-1-2) met once again on Saturday at Montclair State University’s, MSU Soccer Park. This time playing in their new home, NYRB II looked to obtain revenge for their first encounter where they suffered a 1-0 defeat at Red Bull Arena on April 5.
Two penalty goals from Brandon Allen and another by debutant, Douglas Martinez gave NYRB II a 3-1 victory, their third victory of the season. NYRB II now moves to third place in the Eastern Conference with 11 points and a 3-2-2 record.
The first 15 minutes of the game saw both NYRB II and the Harrisburg City Islanders with equal ball possession as both teams looked to score an early goal with opportunities early in the first half. NYRB II goalkeeper, Evan Louro performed an acrobatic diving header in the 5th minute after Harrisburg City Islanders’, Rasheed Olabiyi lofted a dangerous ball looking to reach Johnny Mendoza’s run. Louro’s defensive vision avoided trouble as the ball was headed away in a Manuel Neuer type style.
It wasn’t until the 26th minute that NYRB II managed to score the first goal of the game after forward Brandon Allen was knocked down by Harrisburg City Islanders goalkeeper, Nick Noble in a 50/50 challenge resulting in a penalty. Allen shot a left footed strike hitting the mid-left corner beating Noble who dived to the right resulting in Allen’s third goal of the season, putting NYRB II ahead 1-0.
In the 38th minute NYRB II almost scored a second goal after a dangerous Bezecourt free kick was punched away by the Harrisburg City Islanders goalkeeper, landing on the feet of defender David Najem who shot a 20-yard knuckle ball hitting the right outside net.
When it all seemed like NYRB II were going into halftime with a 1-0 advantage, forward Aaron Wheeler leveled the score 1-1 for the Harrisburg City Islanders with a powerful header off a Johnny Mendoza corner kick in the 40th minute.
Coming out of halftime, NYRB II came out aggressively looking for their second goal of the match early. In the 46th minute, Najem once again took a shot at the Harrisburg City Islanders goal, this time forcing Noble into a diving save. The Harrisburg City Islanders also attempted to attack but NYRB II’s Louro was solid in protecting the net, frequently coming out to control threatening crosses.
NYRB II finally got their second goal when in the 56th minute Zeiko Lewis was taken down in the box resulting in yet another penalty. Once again it was Brandon Allen that was in charge of the shot and in the 57th minute, Allen gave his team the lead for the second time after delivering a left footed strike to the center of the goal beating Noble again.
Though the Harrisburg City Islanders attempted to get themselves back up after NYRB II’s second goal with Cordel Benbow’s speed and skillful footwork, often performing incredible scissors, NYRB II’s defense was impeccably solid. Center backs David Abidor and Justin Bilyeu were a brick wall in the back, always communicating with each other and clearing all threats using their tall stature. Defender David Najem also provided a huge support in the back, constantly running up and down the field providing help defensively and offensively.
Douglas Martinez, the newest incorporation to the New York Red Bulls II team, made his debut coming into the pitch in the 75th minute for the man of the match, Brandon Allen. It wouldn’t take long for the Honduran to make an impact. In the 79th minute just four minutes into the game, Martinez scored his first goal as a NYRB II player. After a low driven cross from Justin Bilyeu was put into the box, Martinez managed to get in between the Harrisburg City Islanders center backs and tapped the ball into the back of the net making the final score, 3-1 as NYRB II remained undefeated at MSU Soccer Park.
David Abidor was a Brick Wall
Abidor was impeccable in the back, providing defensive stability throughout the whole match. Abidor cleared everything from crosses to long balls along with recuperating important balls in the box. The center back was essential in the 3-1 victory on Saturday.
Two Goals for Brandon Allen
Allen scored two penalty goals that were vital in the NYRB II’s victory, but also showed that he’s a constant threat up top. Though being double marked for most of the match, Allen was always leading the attack and now has four goals in five games.
Douglas Martinez has arrived
It only took three minutes for U20 Honduras International, Douglas Martinez to show what he can do. Martinez scored an impressive first touch goal that sealed the victory for NYRB II and introduced him to NYRB II fans. Though Martinez will only be with the team for the remainder of the season, he will certainly look to score as much goals as he can.
NYRB II’s next game will take place in their old home at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ against LA Galaxy II on Sunday, May 14 at 9PM. This match will be part of a double header with the first game being an MLS match between the New York Red Bulls led by Bradley Wright Phillips and the LA Galaxy led by Giovani Dos Santos.