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The Bulls and Calfs Defeat the Timbers

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Ben Mines and company showed they were ready for the big stage as they along with BWP & Rivas rout the Timbers

MLS: Portland Timbers at New York Red Bulls
Ben Mines started and scored for the first game in his MLS Debut.
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

This was the night where you knew the Red Bulls were going to flip the script. Normally you would see the true starting eleven on the field and felt that this was going to be a big match to begin the league season and you would see the regulars go out and do a job.

But because there is a short turnaround for the club due to their second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League within three days, this was the time for the young kids who played for their USL side to get a chance to shine and shine they did with a four goals to nil clean sheet victory to earn their first three points of the new season.

The opening goal came inside the 18th minute as Derrick Etienne Jr. went down the middle of the park and had Alejandro Romero Gamarra to his left and fed the ball to him. Then a hard cross towards Mines as he slid into the ball and converted his first MLS goal to take the lead.

From Elias Sports Bureau the 17 year old Mines is the fifth-youngest player to earn an MLS start in club history and the third youngest to score a goal, behind Eddie Gaven and Jozy Altidore. So what did the seventeen year old say after getting that ball from Kaku?

“Kaku is a great guy and he’s very good at distributing the ball and getting that first goal from him is amazing” said Mines.

“I was definetly nervous tonight and I was talking to Chris (Armas) and he said it's a good thing. Just take that in, live in the moment and play the best of you ability. On the celebration I didn’t know what to do to be honest, I was excited, so happy, thought about everyone who got me to this moment.”

The Red Bulls played strong attacking runs throughout the match and while they were having issues in the final third, it was time to sub in the big boys for minutes of their own. Bradley Wright-Phillips subbed into the match in the 64th minute replacing Derrick Etienne and he continued his hot goal scoring.

In the 77th minute it began at the far side corner flag for his fourth in all competitions but BWP it would be his first in League play. Vincent Bezecourt crossed the ball towards Sean Davis who heads it towards Bradley and he flicks it past Jake Gleeson inside the near post.

His 87th career MLS goal and his 104th in all competitions as Wright-Phillips has remained hot and scoring in any way shape or form of the match. You can tell that BWP is taking the start of this season very seriously.

The new addition from the Sacha Kljestan trade in Carlos Rivas was finally getting a start and is looking to make an impact for the Red Bulls. He did so by converting twice within the final 13 minutes of the second half that included stoppage time.

His first goal came three minutes after BWP converted. Bezecourt attacks with the ball and had two defenders around him, till he crossed it towards Rivas, while onside Rivas picked up the ball and when he caught Gleeson in no man’s land shot it across the goal and tucked it inside the far post.

His second and final goal for the Red Bulls was a beautiful display of passing as BWP cut inside the middle and at the top of the area, found Connor Lade along the far side who crossed it into a wide open area and all Rivas had to do was tap it in.

After it was all said and done the New York Red Bulls have answered a glaring question. They can develop players and use them in their matches from the Academy, to the USL side and now to their senior side in MLS. But what’s the feeling from Jesse Marsch.

“Obviously a very good performance and I think the part that I’m happiest with is the fact that we played like us, we looked like us, there were different names on the back the jerseys, but that looked like our team and that’s always been our goal.” said Marsch.

“Even if you don’t get the result on the day, it’s so important that our team plays the way we want to play. Obviously when you have so many young talented players that you can supplement into the team, it’s exciting to the team and it should be exciting for the fans.

We know these guys have bright futures, so when I’m watching the game I’m almost thinking to myself, it’s going to be a tough job for me this year to keep everybody moving forward in a way that honors where they are at. So great performances from a lot of guys and really proud of the team tonight.”

To see everything unfold in front of your eyes as the future came out and did a job that some would say would be good enough to get through, but honestly this performance was fantastic and to see kids like Mines, Duncan, Bezecourt, Valot along with Etienne, Davis and Adams who have already spent some time with the club are showing you why they believe in their academy system.

Time for a quickrest and get ready to return to international cup competitions as the Red Bulls will now host Club Tijuana of Liga MX in the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League and try to advance to the Semi-Final.