Photo courtesy of Bethlehem Steel FC
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Brandon Allen tallied his 13th goal of the season and Derrick Etienne Jr. capped things off in stoppage time with a score as the Eastern Conference-leading New York Red Bulls II defeated Bethlehem Steel FC 2-0 on Sunday at Goodman Stadium. Allen gave his side a first-half lead when he converted a penalty kick in the 31st minute. The match also featured a first-half appearance from Philadelphia Union midfielder and MLS Designated Player Maurice Edu. New York continues to strengthen its spot for a regular-season crown and No. 1 seed for the 2016 USL Playoffs, improving to 18-3-5 (59 points) overall and an impressive 11-1-1 on the road. The Red Bulls II have now won six consecutive matches. Bethlehem dropped to 6-12-9 (27 points) overall and 4-5-4 at home. Steel FC is in the midst of a nine-game winless streak (0-6-3) as the club’s postseason aspirations took another big hit Sunday.
31' – NY – Brandon Allen (penalty)
90'+ – NY – Derrick Etienne Jr.
Three Things That Mattered:
1. The Red Bulls II drew a foul in the box against Boluwatife Akinyode in the opening half, leading to the game’s first legitimate scoring chance as it had been a quiet first half hour in the attacking thirds. NYRBII goal-scoring leader Brandon Allen stepped up to the spot and drove his left-footed shot straight up the middle past Steel FC goalkeeper Matt Perrella who dove to his left as New York grabbed the 1-0 advantage in the 31st minute. Allen has now scored five goals in his past seven matches. Allen ranks third in the USL with his 13 tallies. It stayed that way until second-half stoppage time as Derrick Etienne Jr. slotted a low shot into the right of the post for a two-goal cushion.
2. MLS Designated Player Maurice Edu made his first appearance of the year, getting the start in midfield as he works his way back from a left tibia stress fracture. The 30-year-old veteran also wore the captain’s armband. Edu had a couple spells of possession and was tested in the defensive end. Edu also picked up a caution in the 30th minute, but there was nothing too significant on either end of the pitch during his rehab as he was eventually subbed out in the 32nd minute, just after New York’s goal, as he made way for Anthony Fontana.
3. In the second half, NYRBII defender Konrad Plewa made his first appearance since the July 30 match at the Richmond Kickers. Plewa was a second-half sub against Bethlehem, and it was certainly a welcome sight for the organization as he had suffered a stroke after the Richmond match and was rushed to the hospital. Plewa’s situation gained national attention when the New York Red Bulls MLS side expressed their thoughts for his recovery when they wore shirts that read “Two teams, one voice” prior to a 2-2 draw against the LA Galaxy.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:
Brandon Allen, New York Red Bulls II – Allen’s scoring clip remains consistent, converting the first-half penalty kick that pushed New York a bit closer to solidifying a first-place, regular-season finish.
Bethlehem Steel FC at Charleston Battery – Sept. 10, 7:30 p.m. ET, MUSC Health Stadium
New York Red Bulls II at Harrisburg City Islanders – Sept. 7, 4 p.m. ET, Pucillo Field