Photo courtesy of New York Red Bulls II
HARRISON, N.J. – Brandon Allen and Derrick Etienne Jr. each converted penalty kicks to lead the New York Red Bulls II to a 2-0 victory against FC Cincinnati on Sunday at Red Bull Arena. First-place NYRBII was the first USL side to clinch a postseason berth and Cincinnati locked up a spot Saturday based on other Eastern Conference results. Plenty is still left to play for between these top-tier East clubs, and Allen’s 12th goal of the season served as the difference in the opening half as NYRBII won its fifth consecutive game. Cincinnati withstood a big blow before Allen's PK conversion as goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt was sent off in the 11th minute. The decision resulted through the usage of the Video Assistant Referee process, which is being utilized for the remainder of NYRBII’s regular-season home games. New York's Noah Powder was sent off in second-half stoppage time as NYRBII and Cincinnati played 10 vs. 10 down the stretch. With the win, NYRBII improves to 17-3-5 (56 points) overall, moving six points ahead of second-place Louisville City FC with a game in hand. New York also posted its 14th clean sheet of the season. Cincinnati drops to 12-5-7 (43 points) overall and 5-3-3 on the road as the club saw its five-game unbeaten streak (2-0-3) come to a close. New York defeated Cincinnati 2-1 on July 20 at Nippert Stadium in the first meeting between the two clubs.
14’ – NY – Brandon Allen (penalty)
90’ – NY – Derrick Etienne Jr. (penalty)
Three Things That Mattered:
1. New York took the early lead when goal-scoring leader Brandon Allen drew a foul in the box against Cincinnati goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt. The play was reviewed through the Video Assistant Referee review process, which is in the midst of a trial run at NYRBII home games through the remainder of the regular season. After conferring, Hildebrandt was sent off and Cincinnati brought in goalkeeper Dallas Jaye. Allen fired his left-footed PK into the left of the frame as Jaye anticipated in the other direction. For Allen, he now has 12 goals on the season and he has been as steady as they come in the scoring department, notching his fourth goal in his past six games. Allen ranks third in the USL with his 12 tallies, two behind second-place Chandler Hoffman (14) of Louisville City FC and three behind the LA Galaxy II’s Jack McBean (15) who is on loan to Coventry City.
2. For Jaye, it marked his USL debut as he subbed in for Eric Stevenson. The 23-year-old Jaye formerly played for FC Tucson in the PDL. For Hildebrandt, he had played in every minute of every game up to this stage of the season. In addition to his sending off Sunday, Hildebrandt will now be unavailable for Wednesday’s road match at the Charlotte Independence.
3. Despite being down a man for most of the match, Cincinnati valiantly tried to orchestrate something on the offensive end, creating some set piece opportunities in both halves to try and stay active in the final third. Striker and leading goal-scorer Sean Okoli returned from a one-game suspension for yellow card accumulation, but it was a difficult task in making an impact in the run of play. The best chance from Okoli and Cincinnati occurred in the 63rd minute as the ball was crossed in from the right and Okoli lunged in at the edge of the six, getting a touch on the ball but deflecting it directly to NYRBII goalkeeper Ryan Meara.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:
Brandon Allen, New York Red Bulls II – Allen scored his team-leading 12th goal and drew the foul that led to his own PK.
New York Red Bulls II at Bethlehem Steel FC – Sept. 4, 3 p.m. ET, Goodman Stadium
FC Cincinnati at Charlotte Independence – Aug. 31, 7 p.m. ET, Ramblewood Soccer Complex