When the New York Red Bulls began their USL club in the Red Bulls 2 side last season, they opened up their existence against the Rochester Rhinos at Red Bull Arena and while it was a haphazard performance that match ended in a scoreless draw. But this time around the result was the same, yet the performance was not as we saw plenty of action from this Red Bulls 2 side.
Unfortunately though the start of the season for starting goalkeeper Ryan Meara has been put to a screeching halt as he developed a groin injury in the 9th minute and was forced to be subbed out two minutes later. Meara came off his line running up to the ball and cleared it out, but unfortunately felt tightness in his groin.
So Rafael Diaz who is the backup keeper was subbed into the match in the 12th minute resides in Rockaway, NJ, took over the match and when he was called upon to make the saves he did so without any issue. Diaz saved all five shots on goal with a total of eleven he faced all game.
Big save on Steevan Dos Santos in the 25th minute for Diaz as he was very aware of the cheeky back heel flick that was coming towards him in point blank range. That could've been the opening goal, but Diaz was there to make the big early save. But while Diaz was doing well in goal for the Red Bulls 2 side, their offense was also attacking well and showing promise.
Brandon Allen was able to control the ball and beat his defender along the near side of the field and when he sprinted towards the area, he made a great cross to Steve Bomono, but sadly his shot nails the far post and out in the 39th minute.
So many chances for both sides and over all the keepers on both sides made several solid saves to once again give this match a scoreless draw, but in second half stoppage time the Rhinos went down to ten men as Steevan Dos Santos was sent off for a shove to a Red Bulls 2 player.
An accidental knock down on Mason Deeds and then he shoves down Cheikh Mbaye that gave him the straight red. He just got back from a three game suspension he earned in last years Eastern Conference Final and after having a solid match coming back from suspension, Dos Santos will be suspended for the Rhinos next game.
Head Coach John Wolyniec looked please after the match was finished. "I mean, you know, we'd obviously like to come away with the three points. You know, we're playing the champions from last year and I think we had the better of the game, so definitely some good things to get out of it, I just think we could've been a little better and had some opportunities to take three points at home against a team that's you know - they're tough to play against."
And how does he feel about Diaz's performance coming on for an injured Meara? "Yeah, Rafi's here for a reason. he's been in the first team camp the last two years. Didn't get many games, but he's a guy that I have a lot of faith in, so no problem."
The next match for the Red Bulls 2 squad will be on Friday, April 22nd as the club will travel to North Carolina and face the Wilmington Hammerheads at Legion Field and you can catch all the action on the USL's You Tube Channel.