Photo courtesy Ben Solomon / New York Red Bulls II
HARRISON, N.J. – Brandon Allen recorded the second hat trick in USL Cup Final history as the New York Red Bulls II took a 5-1 victory against the Swope Park Rangers on Sunday night in the 2016 USL Cup Final, Presented by Nike, in front of a crowd of 5,547 at Red Bull Arena. The Red Bulls II had the better of the early going, and took the lead in the 18th minute as Derrick Etienne Jr. capitalized after Allen had intercepted a poor pass by Swope Park’s Tyler Pasher to send a low curled shot found the right corner of the net. David Najem almost doubled the lead for the hosts, as his chipped finish went just wide after a brilliant one-two with Florian Valot at the top of the penalty area. Najem created the Red Bulls II’s second of the night six minutes before the break, however, as he broke forward to intercept a loose clearance, and slide a low cross that found Allen, who controlled and finished into the right corner. The Rangers came out more brightly to start the second half, and had Ayrton send a good effort just over the crossbar eight minutes after the break. Dane Kelly also fired wide from the top of the penalty area, but the breakthrough arrived with 17 minutes to go when Tomas Granitto’s innocuous-looking free kick eluded everyone in the penalty area and snuck into the right corner of the net. The Red Bulls II put the game away in the final five minutes, however, as Allen struck twice to complete his hat trick, converting a rebound in the 85th minute, and a low cross by Stefano Bonomo with two minutes to go, and Vincent Bezecourt added the fifth in stoppage time.
Three Things That Matter:
1. The Red Bulls II’s high-press proved to be far too much for Swope Park in the opening half, as the hosts’ pressure means they were not only were sharper to second balls and claimed clearances to maintain pressure, but also saw the Rangers suffer mental lapses that cost them the opening goal. It was uncharacteristic from Swope Park, which had been on the front foot more often than not in its run to the USL Cup Final, but proved remarkable costly in their biggest game of the season.
2. Swope Park’s reaction was exactly the type you would have expected, as the Rangers quickly grabbed the game and started to find its rhythm going forward. The visitors were unable to take full advantage, however, as New York defended the corner kicks the Rangers earned well, and Swope Park itself was errant in its finishing. It took a big slice of luck to get Swope Park back into the game, as a straight free kick from 40 yards ended up ducking through traffic to find the net.
3. The hallmark of the New York Red Bulls II’s season, which sees them become only the third side to claim both the USL Regular Season Championship and USL Cup, was the side’s relentlessness, and after the side’s lead was cut to one with just over 15 minutes to go, it found another gear again. Three goals in the final five minutes and stoppage time gave the final score a lopsided feel, and certainly might have been a little cruel to the Rangers, but the side’s decisiveness in front of goal capped a remarkable season for a remarkable side.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:
Brandon Allen, New York Red Bulls II – Only the second player to record a hat trick in the USL Cup Final after Dom Dwyer for Orlando City SC in 2013, Allen rose to the occasion to also add an assist in a championship performance.
18’ – NY – Derrick Etienne Jr. (Brandon Allen)
39’ – NY – Brandon Allen (David Najem)
73’ – SPR – Tomas Granitto
85’ – NY – Brandon Allen
88’ – NY – Brandon Allen (Stefano Bonomo)
90+’ – NY – Vincent Bezecourt (Derrick Etienne Jr.)
NY: 18-Ryan Meara; 46-Kevin O’Toole (41-Konrad Plewa, 66’), 33-Aaron Long, 17-Zach Carroll, 37-David Najem; 36-Dan Metzger, 4-Tyler Adams, 88-Vincent Bezecourt; 7-Derrick Etienne Jr. (70-Benjamin Mines, 90+’), 21-Brandon Allen (39-Tim Schmoll, 89’), 47-Florian Valot (29-Stefano Bonomo, 81’)
SPR: 95-Adrian Zendejas; 24-Ever Alvarado, 81-Oumar Ballo, 55-Amer Didic, 90-Johnny Grant (38-Akeil Barrett); 32-Christian Duke (92-Alex Molano, 89’), 23-Emmanuel Appiah (44-Tomas Granitto, 46’), 45-Ayrton (47-Mark Anthony Gonzalez, 61’); 77-Tyler Pasher, 99-Dane Kelly, 50-Kris Tyrpak
Venue: Red Bull Arena