While the first team turned a trip to Yankee Stadium into a 90-minute demonstration of the virtues of RalfBall, the reserves were struggling to convert pressure into goals until Junior Flemmings got his head to a cross and sent NYRB II home with all three points.
.@Flemmo_77 with the game winning header for @NYRBII in the 90th minute vs. @fcmontrealusl #MTLvNY pic.twitter.com/2eJKXAYxuS— USL (@USL) May 21, 2016
For a team yet to win a league game this season, FC Montreal put up a reasonable fight, but the Red Bulls' 90th-minute winner was a reflection of divergent fortunes of these two teams in USL to date: things generally go wrong for the winless, pointless Montreal side in 2016; the Red Bulls - riding high near the top of the Eastern Conference - are generally seeing things go right.
Case in point: the Red Bulls cut Zach Carroll from the MLS squad in the hope of re-assigning him to the USL roster, in a move designed to give the club the best of both worlds - the chance to continue developing a young talent and the roster space to continue improving the first team for this season. It was a potentially risky move - Carroll might have been snatched up by another MLS team during the league's waiver process - but it paid off. The young center back was signed to NYRB II this week and in the starting lineup for this game.
The team's other recent acquisition, David Najem, also saw a few minutes on the field - appearing as a late substitute for Justin Bilyeu.
The reserve team next plays in Red Bull Arena, for what could be an extremely enjoyable double-header. RBNY will first play Toronto FC - kicking off at 7:00 pm on May 28 - hoping to show the home crowd something of the magic that just happened in Yankee Stadium. Then, at 10:00 pm, NYRB II will play Pittsburgh Riverhound - the opponent responsible for the fracas that led to THAT kick.
Two games to get excited about on the same day, in the same place - and all you need to do, RBNY fans, is stay awake for back-to-back doses of Red Bull soccer.