Photo courtesy FC Cincinnati
CINCINNATI – Florian Valot’s goal with four minutes to go capped a dramatic comeback as the New York Red Bulls II stunned a crowd of 16,127 fans at Nippert Stadium with a 2-1 win against FC Cincinnati in the USL Game of the Week on Wednesday night. Valot headed home a cross by Derrick Etienne to give the visitors victory, spoiling Cincinnati’s celebration of a new USL single-season attendance record. The Red Bulls II had the better of the game in the first half, and went closest to taking the lead shortly before halftime when Etienne’s free kick clipped the left post and went behind for a goal kick. The missed chances came back to haunt the visitors when Cincinnati took the lead on the hour-mark as Omar Cummings found Jimmy McLaughlin for a low finish from the left side of the penalty area. The Red Bulls II were able to get back on level terms with seven minutes to go, however, as Justin Bilyeu’s first professional goal off a free kick from 25 yards found the left corner of the net. Valot’s header with four minutes to go then grabbed victory from the jaws of defeat as New York took its eighth road win of the season.
60’ – CIN – Jimmy McLaughlin (Omar Cummings)
83’ – NY – Justin Bilyeu
86’ – NY – Florian Valot (Derrick Etienne)
Three Things That Matter:
1. The Red Bulls II could have put the game well out of reach before the halftime break, only for some poor decision-making, and good scrambling defense by FC Cincinnati, to keep the game scoreless. The biggest culprit was Junior Flemmings, who had two great breakaway opportunities as New York broke down Cincinnati’s defense, but on both occasions the young Jamaican held the ball a moment too long and squandered the chance to finish.
2. Cincinnati has been excellent this season at making the right halftime adjustments, which is a big reason why entering Wednesday night’s game the side had outscored its opponents 16-8 after the break this season. Coach John Harkes again appeared to have made the right moves, as Cincinnati was able to neutralize the Red Bulls II far more effectively, and started creating better chances in attack. That led to Jimmy McLaughlin’s opening goal, and hope for the crowd of 16,127 fans, only for things to go south in the final 10 minutes.
3. New York left it late, but in the end it took its eighth road victory of the season thanks to a pair of substitutes who linked up perfectly with four minutes to go to deliver the coup de grace on their hosts. Derrick Etienne’s delivery from the left was perfect, as was Florian Valot’s header, and kept the Red Bulls II right on the heels of Louisville City FC as the top four teams square off this Saturday afternoon in a massive day for the Eastern Conference playoff race.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Florian Valot, New York Red Bulls II – Valot’s first goal in a Red Bulls II jersey proved the decisive moment in an exciting contest as the visitors moved within a point of the lead in the Eastern Conference.
FC Cincinnati vs. Louisville City FC – July 23, 4 p.m. ET, Nippert Stadium
New York Red Bulls II vs. Charleston Battery – July 23, 4 p.m. ET, Red Bull Park