Despite leading for most of the match, New York Red Bulls II (3-5-4) drew FC Montreal. Montreal's Victor Ndiaye took advantage of a defensive miscommunication in the 90th minute to level the score at 2-2. The ball rolled past Red Bulls goalkeeper Santiago Castano (who was inexplicably near the edge of his box in traffic) and Ndiaye was able finish after winning a footrace.
Manolo Sanchez hit a beautiful volley off a well placed ball by Leo Stolz to open the scoring shortly after kickoff. Alessandro Riggi leveled the proceedings in the 25th minute for Montreal after the Baby Bulls casually gave the ball away in their own third. Stolz hit a beautiful free kick to put NYRB II up 2-1 at halftime.
It was a back and forth match with both teams constantly on the attack. Montreal played a lot of long balls up to their quick, dynamic strikers who were everywhere yet lacked the composure to finish consistently. The Red Bulls relied on high pressure and were able to play pretty solid defensively despite the two miscues, but were clearly missing the creative and physical presence of players such as Sean Davis, Derrick Etienne, and Karl Ouimette. It wasn't a pretty match, but it was certainly entertaining. Unfortunately, due to the late, preventable goal by Montreal, it's one of those draws that feels like a loss.
Anyway, here's some talking points to impress your friends.
The Baby Bulls give up a lot of goals due to mental lapses. FC Montreal's first goal came off a casual Red Bulls giveaway. Their second goal in the 90th minute could have been prevented multiple times. The Baby Bulls had possession in the opponent's third, but elected to make an ill-fated attack on goal instead of taking the ball to the corner and killing the match off. After easily moving through a tired Red Bulls midfield, Montreal was able to take advantage of shambolic defending and indescribably confused goalkeeping to walk the ball into the net.
There are a lot of kids and young professionals out there, but they were also (in this match) competing against a team with a similar roster build. John Wolyniec needs to prepare his team better for late game situations.
Composure in final third coming along
The Red Bulls, especially the USL and Academy players, were having trouble scoring, but the floodgates are starting to open. Manolo Sanchez scored the first goal, and the second goal was a well taken free kick from Leo Stolz. The club is still relying on MLS players to do the heavy lifting offensively, but at least somebody is scoring.
Despite Derrick Etienne being away on international duty with the Haiti U23s, there was still an Academy presence in the match. Juan Sebastian Sanchez (committed to Tulsa) started the match at striker. Mason Deeds and Brian Saramago from the Red Bulls U16s also subbed into the match, in the 64th and 72nd minute respectively. This is a great experience for them. Hope we see them in the MLS squad some day.
- Jofiane, the guy doing the FC Montreal commentary, did a great job. (This is an inside joke.)
- I was impressed with Dan Bedoya. He's an interesting player who adds a wrinkle to the offense. That seemingly bland platitude means something, I swear. Bedoya cuts through the defense and moves east-west instead of north-south which is counter to the more straightforward nature of the rest of the Red Bulls attackers.
- Stolz's free kick goal is at 54:05.
- Anthony Wallace is an all-star at the USL level. Hopefully a season at this level will help him relax and get him ready to contribute to the MLS squad next season.
- This team exists for Santiago Castano to make mistakes. Every poor decision is another lesson learned for the future.