On a steamy night at MSU Soccer Park on the campus of Montclair State University, in a match that pinned first and second place in the USL Championship’s Eastern Conference, New York Red Bulls 2 was able to defeat the Tampa Bay Rowdies with a Mathias Jorgensen brace by a final of two goals to nil.
The opening goal came in the 17th minute, as Jorgensen took advantage of a poor decision by the Rowdies’ backline. Tarek Morad was trying to play the ball back to his goal keeper Macklin Robinson, but didn’t see Jorgensen sneaking up behind him.
When he tried to play the ball, Jorgensen jumped in front of Morad and took the ball off his boot. Then he caught Robinson off his line, made a nifty move to slip the ball by the keeper and poked it home into an open net.
Jorgensen’s second goal came in the 34th minute, as the young Dane once again put himself into great position to convert. John Tolkin read what Jorgensen was going to do and laid off a fantastic ball towards the attacking run.
As Jorgensen snuck past the defender, he got into position to take a shot. While Robinson did get a touch on the ball, it wasn’t enough for him to keep it out, as the shot rolled harmfully into the open net for the two-goal lead.
“I’m a striker who loves to run behind and I love to run early behind and see some great movement and try to make hard runs behind the defender,” Jorgensen said.
“On the first goal, it was a through pass from our teammates to try to get through. I was a little bit imagining that he would get a bad touch and tried to play the goalkeeper. I was a little bit snitching it out and then, yeah, happy to get the touch around the goalkeeper and put it in.
“More and more I get comfortable, but it’s still difficult because I think sometimes, we play with one striker, sometimes with two strikers, and I’m coming from a system in Denmark when I only play with two strikers.
“So that takes time, and I’m a patient guy, but I’m also like, not that patient. So I try when I get into games to try to improve myself and try to improve my teammates, and try to just to talk to the team with what I can do with my runs, and try to see my runs a little bit more.”
On top of the goals from Jorgensen, this was a game where Red Bulls II needed a strong goalkeeper to pull out big saves and keep the defense organized for the full 90 minutes. Evan Louro had some spectacular saves against a dangerous Tampa Bay Rowdies attack that has Lucky Mkosana, a player with the ability to take apart a team by himself.
Louro made big saves early and late to keep the clean sheet alive, and when Kyle Duncan got his second yellow card in the 62nd minute, the fight only became harder for Louro to earn the clean sheet. And yet, he and Red Bulls II earned the shutout, and with the win are now only two points behind the leaders.
“For sure, a lot on [the win],” head coach John Wolyniec said. “Obviously, first place team, haven’t lost on the road, so that’s a big, big step for us. Shutout for us, that’s huge.
“You know, we created a decent amount. They’re a tough team, they’re very good, they’re very physical and good defensively, so for us to get two goals and have more chances is good.
“You know, sometimes, when you lose a man, you go down, you can sit back and give up too much pressure. I think we found a good balance of keeping things in front of us, but at the same time getting out and stepping to the ball. The wide guys especially stuck to that.
And that’s not easy to do when you go down a man So, you know, credit to our guys for staying aggressive in that sense. Obviously, it takes some big saves and some big defensive plays. But, you know, I guess the first-place team and a man down, you’re going to have to do that to survive. At the end of the day, we get the shutout.”
It was definitely a memorable victory for this Red Bulls II side, who needed the three points after their two-goal lead was dropped for a 2-2 draw at Memphis 901 FC. Red Bulls 2 will continue its late-season run as it hosts Saint Louis FC on August 2 at MSU Soccer Park.