Photo courtesy New York Red Bulls II
MONTCLAIR, N.J. – Brandon Allen scored twice from the penalty spot as the New York Red Bulls II notched a 3-1 victory against the Harrisburg City Islanders on Saturday afternoon at MSU Soccer Park. New York threatened early on a shot by Zeiko Lewis, but the Red Bulls II were awarded a penalty kick when Brandon Allen was fouled going for a header near the penalty spot. Allen shot home into the left side to put New York ahead. Harrisburg almost hit back seven minutes later when Aaron Wheeler fizzed a shot just high and wide of the left post from 20 yards, but the rangy forward put home a headed equalizer from a perfect near-post corner from the right by Jonathan Mendoza that was flicked home six minutes before the break. New York’s David Najem forced a big save by City Islanders goalkeeper Nick Noble inside the opening minute of the second half, but the Red Bulls II were awarded a second penalty kick when Lewis was brought down in the area. Allen converted again for his fourth of the season in the 57th minute. New York almost added to its lead on the counter-attack with 14 minutes to go, only for Noble to make a big save on Vincent Bezecourt, but with 11 minutes to go Douglas Martinez wrapped up all three points for the hosts.
26’ – NY – Brandon Allen (penalty)
39’ – HAR – Aaron Wheeler (Jonathan Mendoza)
57’ – NY – Brandon Allen (penalty)
79’ – NY – Doug Martinez (Justin Bilyeu)
Three Things That Matter:
1. The Red Bulls II earned a little bit of revenge for their defeat to the City Islanders earlier in the season, and moved into the top four of the Eastern Conference standings, as a pair of Brandon Allen penalty kicks were enough to earn victory in an entertaining clash between the northeast clubs. New York has now taken seven points from its last three games, and will now prepare for a busy week which sees the side visit Charlotte on Thursday night, and then return home for a first-even meeting with the LA Galaxy II on Sunday.
2. Harrisburg responded very strongly to going behind from the spot in the first half, with Cardel Benbow’s speed and Aaron Wheeler’s size proving a handful for the Red Bulls II’s defense. The equalizer came from a perfectly-executed near-post corner that allowed Wheeler to beat his marker to the corner of the six-yard area and flick home, but in the second half it was Benbow that looked the most likely source of a second equalizer for the City Islanders. The Jamaican’s final ball couldn’t quite find the final ball, though, as New York put the game away late.
3. Honduran U20 international Douglas Martinez had a debut to remember for the Red Bulls II as he notched his first goal for the club just four minutes after coming on as a substitute for Brandon Allen. The deft touch shown by the recent loan addition provided the perfect finish on Justin Bilyeu’s cross from the left, and wrapped up all three points to give New York its third win in as many games at MSU Soccer Park.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Zeiko Lewis, New York Red Bulls II – Lewis provided speed down the flank, completing 77 percent of his passes and winning 7-of-12 duels, and was brought down for the second Red Bulls II penalty kick.
New York Red Bulls II at Charlotte Independence – May 11, 7 p.m. ET, Eagle Field
Harrisburg City Islanders at Richmond Kickers – May 13, 7 p.m. ET, City Stadium