Photo courtesy of Harrisburg City Islanders
HARRISBURG, Pa. – The New York Red Bulls II broke things open with four second-half goals and a season-high five tallies in total to move into first place in the Eastern Conference thanks to a commanding 5-0 victory against the Harrisburg City Islanders on Tuesday at FNB Field. Anatole Abang’s first-half penalty kick got things started and then the Red Bulls II got rolling in the second half. Dan Metzger tallied from long range while Zoumana Simpara notched his first goal and Vincent Bezecourt scored his first two of the campaign. With the win, New York improved to 9-1-1 on the road this season, three days after suffering its first road defeat of the year. The Red Bulls II improved to 13-3-5 (44 points) overall, moving two points ahead of Louisville City FC (12-3-6, 42 points). Harrisburg dropped to 6-14-3 (21 points) overall and 3-7-2 at home – 1-5-2 at FNB Field. The City Islanders had been unbeaten in their three previous games (2-0-1). NYRBII is 2-0-0 in the season series, posting a 1-0 win against Harrisburg on June 9 at Red Bull Arena. They will meet a third and final time during the regular season on Sept. 7 at Red Bull Arena.
28’ – NY – Anatole Abang (penalty)
64’ – NY – Dan Metzger (Florian Valot)
76’ – NY – Zoumana Simpara
78’ – NY – Vincent Bezecourt (Junior Flemmings)
86’ – NY – Vincent Bezecourt (Dan Metzger)
Three Things That Mattered:
1. Harrisburg had the shots advantage over the Red Bulls II during the opening half, but New York gained the scoring edge by virtue of a penalty kick conversion. Harrisburg’s Josh Hughes fouled NYRBII’s Junior Flemmings as he went over the top of Flemmings’ back for a header. Anatole Abang took the subsequent PK in the 28th minute, firing a shot slightly to the left of the frame as City Islanders goalkeeper Keasel Broome dove away from the ball. The second half was a different story as NYRBII gained plenty of confidence against a Harrisburg side that could not keep up with New York’s speed and depth. Dan Metzger had the highlight of the second half with a right-footed strike from more than 25 yards out in the 64th minute that snuck inside the near left post. Zoumana Simpara’s 76th-minute rebound pushed the lead to three and Junior Flemmings set up Vincent Bezecourt two minutes later as he poked the ball into the open frame.
2. New York posted its 11th shutout of the season, and looking back on this match overall, one of the biggest plays to add to that total came from center back Tim Schmoll. He had a goal-saving header clearance to back up goalkeeper Rafael Diaz in the 16th minute. Harrisburg’s Matthew Bolduc had a clear path down the right side and found himself one-on-one against Diaz. With Diaz well off his line, Bolduc chipped it over the goalkeeper, but Schmoll rushed in to get his head on the ball and concede a corner kick.
3. NYRBII was without some of its regular contributors who were called up to the MLS side in preparation for Wednesday’s CONCACAF Champions League game against Antigua GFC. They included the likes of goalkeeper Ryan Meara, forward Derrick Etienne Jr. and midfielder Tyler Adams, the latter of which NYRB Head Coach Jesse Marsch said would get the start against Antigua. That meant some roster adjustments on the USL side, including goalkeeper Diaz who made his fourth appearance and first since a May 1 loss to the Charlotte Independence. Diaz actually made multiple saves with his feet Tuesday night, turning away Garret Pettis twice in the seventh and 35th minutes with an alert low reaction stop during both instances.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:
Vincent Bezecourt, New York Red Bulls II – Bezecourt came off the bench and made the most of his opportunity with some key players unavailable with two second-half tallies as NYRBII dominated in the second half.
Harrisburg City Islanders at Louisville City FC – Aug. 10, 7:30 p.m. ET, Slugger Field
New York Red Bulls II vs. Orlando City B – Aug. 12, 7 p.m. ET, Red Bull Arena