Photo courtesy New York Red Bulls II
HARRISON, N.J. – The New York Red Bulls II swept to a 4-0 victory against Orlando City B in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2016 USL Cup Playoffs at Red Bulls Arena on Sunday evening. New York had the upper hand early, and Orlando goalkeeper Mark Ridgers got down well to save from Derrick Etienne Jr. in the 17th minute. The Red Bulls II took the lead in the 32nd minute, however, as Aaron Long scored with a close-range finish from a corner by Vincent Bezecourt that Orlando’s defense failed to deal with. Etienne forced a big save from Ridgers for the Red Bulls II early in the second half as they looked to add to their lead, but New York made it 20 in the 59th minute as Florian Valot set up Vincent Bezecourt for a first-time finish from 20 yards into the top-left corner of the net. Orlando’s task became even more difficult as Harrison Heath was sent off three minutes later, and while Devron Garcia went close soon after from a header off a corner that was saved, Brandon Allen added a third for the Red Bulls II in the 67th minute to wrap up the victory for the USL regular season champions. Long’s second goal of the game in the 77th minute off Bezecourt’s free kick extended the Red Bulls II’s lead, and while Orlando almost broke their duck late on, New York saw out the win comfortably.
Three Things That Matter:
1. The Red Bulls II progressed confidently into the Conference Semifinals, avoiding some of the pitfalls that have befallen higher seeds so far this weekend with a confident display that saw the side get out on the front foot early, and never really allow Orlando to get settled into the game. Aaron Long’s goal was a just reward for the pressure the hosts applied to their visitors, and both Vincent Bezecourt and Brandon Allen’s finishes were well-taken to wrap up the game in the second half.
2. Vincent Bezecourt was one of the final signings for the Red Bulls II this preseason, but didn’t really make his presence felt for the side until a two-goal game against the Harrisburg City Islanders in early August. Since then, though, the former St. Francis University standout has been one of the key players for the Red Bulls II, as he notched four goals and one assist in the club’s final four regular season games, and added a beautiful goal and assist against Orlando. With Junior Flemmings absent due to injury, Bezecourt has made the most of his chance to shine.
3. Orlando City B saw its season end in disappointing fashion as it was unable to build much momentum of its playoff-clinching victory last Sunday against Bethlehem Steel FC. A place in the playoffs in the club’s inaugural season is still a solid feat, though, and with the performances we’ve seen from players like Michael Cox, Pierre Da Silva and Mark Ridgers, there’s plenty to build on for Coach Anthony Pulis as OCB looks to make another step forward in 2016.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:
Aaron Long, New York Red Bulls II – Long scored the first and last goals for the Red Bulls II, and in-between played well to limit the clear looks for Orlando’s attack as New York cruised into the conference semifinals.
New York Red Bulls II – Eastern Conference Semifinals vs. No. 4 Rochester Rhinos, Friday, Oct. 7, 7 p.m. ET
Orlando City B – End of Season
32’ – NY – Aaron Long (Vincent Bezecourt)
59’ – NY – Vincent Bezecourt (Florian Valot)
67’ – NY – Brandon Allen
77’ – NY – Aaron Long (Vincent Bezecourt)
NY: 18-Ryan Meara; 66-Noah Powder, 33-Aaron Long, 17-Zach Carroll, 37-David Najem; 36-Dan Metzger (46-Kevin O’Toole, 77’), 4-Tyler Adams (41-Konrad Plewa, 74’); 88-Vincent Bezecourt, 7-Derrick Etienne Jr. (29-Stefano Bonomo,71’), 47-Florian Valot (39-Tim Schmoll, 85’); 21-Brandon Allen (45-Zoumana Simpara, 82’)
ORL: 50-Mark Ridgers; 2-Tyler Turner, 48-Kyle McFadden, 23-Connor Donovan, 42-Zachary Hayden; 8-Harrison Heath, 24-Lewis Neal, 49-Andrew Ribeiro (16-Devron Garcia, 55’); 47-Marius Obekop (40-Johnny Mendoza, 79’), 51-Michael Cox, 43-Pierre Da Silva (Hadji Barry, 46’)
Venue: Red Bull Arena