By Cristian Inga, Montclarion
Montclair, N.J. (September 30, 2017) – The New York Red Bull’s (NYRB) II (12-12-5, 41pts) defeated the Pittsburgh Riverhounds (8-11-11, 35pts) 2-0, Saturday at MSU Soccer Park in their regular season home finale. A first half own goal by Abuchi Obinwa and a second half stoppage time goal by Florian Valot sealed their fifth-straight home win in front of a season high attendance of 1,482.
NYRB II started the game strong, dominating in ball possession and constantly pressing forward. The first 10 minutes of the game saw the Pittsburgh Riverhounds clearly struggle with the rapid pace of NYRB II thus forcing them to rely on long balls, which were often lost. The midfield partnership between Andrew Tinari and Vincent Bezecourt was excellent in recovering balls and initiating plays.
In the 14th minute the first opportunity of the game came for NYRB II when Valot delivered a dangerous cross from the left wing forcing Riverhounds goalkeeper Matt Perella to a diving save. Valot threatened Perella’s goal again in the 20th minute when a long range shot went wide and above after Stefano Bonomo and Bezecourt connected passes for a counterattack.
Though a dominating initial first half minutes by NYRB II, the goal came in the 26th minute via an own goal by Abuchi Obinwa off a Bezecourt header as the Pittsburgh player attempted to reject the ball, instead putting it into his own net.
NYRB II instantly looked to double their lead and in the 31st minute came close when a header by Bonomo went just above the bar after a Junior Flemmings cross. The last few minutes of the first half featured NYRB II taking many longshots, a tool that has become vital for this team when it fails to get into their opponent’s box, though unlucky to not get one on target.
Unlike the first half that had NYRB II in complete control of the game with 72 percent ball possession, second half featured a Pittsburgh Riverhounds side that showed signs of life.
In the 60th minute after a quick Bezecourt throw-in, Flemmings was left one on one against Perella, who denied him with his legs. The Pittsburgh Riverhounds would finally respond in the 75th minute when Shannon Gomez threatened Even Louro’s goal, firing a longshot wide after beating Noah Powder to a long ball. The shot was off target, but Pittsburgh looked to build from the momentum.
Dan Metzger came close to sealing the victory in the 79th minute after blasting a splendid longshot to Parella’s top right post forcing him into an acrobatic save. NYRB II continued to look for a goal to seal the victory and in the 82nd minute, second half substitute Douglas Martinez delivered a low driven cross to also second half entree Dilly Duka, who tapped it wide in front of the goal.
Pittsburgh Riverhounds biggest opportunity came in the 84th minute when a corner kick lead to former New York Red Bulls draft pick Corey Hertzog rattling the post after the ball was ping ponged inside the box.
In stoppage time, Duka got the chance to seal the victory again in a similar play to his 82nd minute wide shot when Martinez again delivered him a beautiful cross that once again Duka fired wide in front of the goal.
When everyone thought the game was going to end 1-0, Duka redeemed himself for the earlier missed attempts forcing a turnover in the last few minutes of stoppage time to deliver a cross where Valot simply tapped it in to seal the 2-0 victory.
With the victory NYRB II are now situated in the seventh position of the Eastern Conference Standings with 41 points.
25 min – Abuchi Obinwa (Own goal)
90+ min – Florian Valot (Dilly Duka)
Saturdays NYRB II game saw a season high attendance of 1,482. Their game was the second of a men’s soccer triple header at MSU Soccer park with Saint Peter’s Prep taking on Wallington High School earlier and the Montclair State Red Hawks taking on the Stockton University Ospreys after the NYRB II game.
NYRB II’s defense was impeccable, helping the team secure a shutout and gain three valuable points in search of a playoff spot. Once again the center back partnership between Hassan Ndam and Jordan Scarlett was vital in the victory.
Though the team completely dominated the first half in terms of ball possession, NYRB II struggled to create opportunities and were lucky to go into the half up 1-0 due to an own goal. In the second half, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds showed signs of life and came close to scoring the equalizer in the last minutes, with Florian Valot sealing the victory in stoppage time.
NYRB II’s remaining three games will all be away starting this Wednesday when they face the Tampa Bay Rowdies at Al Lang Stadium with kick-off scheduled for 7:30PM.