New York Red Bulls' II team provided the nightcap to RBNY's Bradley Wright-Phillips inspired drubbing of Toronto FC. The reserves followed BWP's hat-trick with a run out against Pittsburgh Riverhounds - the first time the two teams have met since THAT kick.
One might therefore call this a grudge match, though the players most likely to harbor any grudges - Romeo Parkes and Karl Ouimette - were not present. Pittsburgh arrived at Red Bull Arena having fired Parkes (for his kick) and erstwhile head coach Mark Steffens (for the team's dire start to the USL season). NYRB II was also missing a few hitherto important components of its squad: free-scoring first-team outcast Anatole Abang and linchpin attacking midfielder Derrick Etienne were both away on international duty.
Neither team, however, seemed weighed down by past events or absent colleagues. It was the home side that came out stronger in the early going, perhaps buoyed by following the first team's big win. Brandon Allen, whose MLS debut in the preceding game was an offside flag away from featuring his first goal in MLS, seemed particularly motivated. The RBNY homegrown prospect found Junior Flemmings with a ball to feet in the 10th minute. It was a smart pass, but not necessarily a decisive one: the young Jamaican had to take a touch to shake off his marker and that took him away from goal - but he cut the ball back across the 'keeper to score with a tidy left-footed finish.
The reserve Red Bulls couldn't add to their tally in the first half, and it was Pittsburgh's turn to surge forward in the early stages of the second 45. Ryan Meara stood tall to keep former RBNY player Corey Hertzog at bay, and the Riverhounds did not muster many clear chances after their initial efforts to turn the game were thwarted.
Zoumana Simpara entered the game for Allen at half-time, and was lively in the attacking third. But the best second-half chances for NYRB II fell to Noah Powder - once again deployed as a midfielder - who forced the Pittsburgh 'keeper to parry a powerful volley from outside the box, and Flemmings, who couldn't quite reprise his earlier trick of curving a shot inside the far post.
The reserves next play on June 5, when they travel to Bethlehem Steel.