New York Red Bulls II won their first home opener in the teams’ history after they defeated Toronto FC II 2-1 on Saturday.
Manager John Wolyniec included five of the eight players who were apart of last year’s Eastern Conference Finals team in the starting eleven. Evan Louro started in net while Wolyniec elected to go with five at the back. Ethan Kutler started at right back, while the center backs consisted of Jordan Scarlett, Hassan Ndam and newcomer Tommy Redding. The Red Bulls’ 2018 MLS SuperDraft second round pick Niko De Vera made the start at left back. The midfield consisted of newcomer Steven Echeverria in the holding midfield position, while the trio of Ben Mines, Florian Valot and Andrew Tinari were in behind the striker. The Red Bulls’ 2018 MLS SuperDraft first round pick Brian White made the start up top for the team.
NYRB II started out positive, but were caught out as TFCII’s Liam Fraser played in Matthew Srbely and he was able to beat Louro to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
NYRB II responded well and would have been level minutes later but Valot and Kutler were both denied by TFCII’s goalkeeper Angelo Cavalluzzo.
White had another chance to bring NYRB II level but his header from Tinari’s cross was denied again by Cavalluzzo.
NYRB II continued to search for an equalizer, but went into halftime down 1-0 despite the fact they controlled most of the half.
NYRB II again started out well as De Vera missed an equalizer by inches, but were caught moments later and Tommy Redding conceded a penalty when he took down Ben Spencer. However, Louro guessed correctly and denied Spencer’s spot kick with a fine stop to keep NYRB II within one.
Louro talked about what was going through his mind when Spencer stepped up for the penalty and how he was able to stop it.
I go with my gut, if I see something that is going to give me the inkling that he’s going to go one way I’m just going to trust it and hope for the best, luckily it worked out today.
NYRB II would make a change a few minutes later as Kevin Politz would come on for Ndam.
NYRB II once again called on Louro to come up big as Spencer was sent through after a ball over the top, but he was denied as Louro came off his line quick to make a nice stop.
Wolyniec’s men finally found their breakthrough in the 62nd minute after Mines unleashed a shot which was deflected by Tinari into the net to tie the score at 1.
White should have put NYRB II in the lead minutes later after Valot’s cross found him in front of goal, but he scuffed his shot wide.
NYRB II wouldn’t have to wait much longer to take the lead as Valot was put through and his low cross found Tinari at the back post and he smashed his effort into the top corner to put NYRB II up 2-1.
NYRB II looked for some insurance as they sent on Stefano Bonomo for Valot minutes later.
NYRB II did have a few chances to pad their lead late on but were unable to convert them into goals and came away with the 2-1 win.
Wolyniec said there might have been some first game jitters with the team but he thought they responded well
You could see it (the nerves) early especially in the first half, but we fought and stayed with it, put together a pretty good second half. There’s still some things to work on, but I think it bodes well that even though we didn’t play well and that we haven’t been great in opening games in the past. We started off on the right foot and got 3 points and some things to build off of.
Wolyniec said there were some positives and that some of the young guys put in good performances in their first games.
We created a lot of chances, if we were a little bit more calm in front of goal, we could’ve ended up with a bigger scoreline. Definitely some good performances from some young guys. We ended in a good place so that’s the big thing.
NYRB II will look to continue their streak next week when they travel to Atlanta to take on Atlanta United 2. The game will take place on Saturday, March 24, at 7:00 pm.