New York Red Bulls II scored in first-half stoppage and added a late set piece goal to snap a 1-1 deadlock and take all three points in a 3-1 win over Orlando City B at MSU Soccer Park. It was a poor start to a three-game road swing for OCB (1-3-1, 4 points), which will make Pennsylvania stops at Harrisburg and Bethlehem before returning to Orlando.
New York (2-2-1, 7 points) dominated the game early as OCB struggled to find its footing in the game. The home team nearly opened in the scoring in the 14th minute when David Abidor headed a corner kick toward Earl Edwards’ far post. However, Edwards was able to get down to make the one-handed save and the game remained scoreless.
Two minutes later, the Red Bulls did open the scoring through Junior Flemmings. A nice diagonal ball by Vincent Bezecourt found Flemmings with some space on the right. A missed tackle by Scott Thomsen allowed Flemming to bring the ball inside and slide it between the legs of Earl Edwards. The goal was the third of the season that has snuck between the legs of the 25-year-old goalkeeper.
The goal by the Red Bulls sparked OCB, which all of the sudden starting creating more chances on the attack. The first chance came in the 21st minute when Albert Dikwa found himself with an angle and some space to get a shot on goal. But goalkeeper Evan Louro was able to make the save, tipping it over the crossbar. The ensuing corner kick by Pierre Da Silva found a charging Zach Carroll who headed the ball just wide of goal.
Three minutes later, Da Silva was able to split the defenders on the left, getting to the end line to get off a cross. As Louro dropped the ball, Austin Martz was there to collect. Louro made the stop on the initial shot but Martz found a second attempt on an empty goal. However, his second chance slammed off the outside of the post, keeping the score at 1-0.
Ten minutes after that flurry of chances, OCB finally found the back of the net. Collecting the ball at the top of the box, Da Silva sent a beautiful, curling cross that found the head of Dikwa at the top of the six-yard box. The striker didn’t squander the opportunity and put it past Louro equalizing the game at one. It was Dikwa’s second straight game with a goal.
As the first half wound down, the Red Bulls took control of the game once again, creating several good chances. Three minutes into injury time, just before the end of the first half, the Red Bulls struck for the second time. Bezecourt received a pass at the top of the box and quickly turned past Fernando Timbo. Finding space, the midfielder sent the ball out of the reach of Edwards, giving the home side the 2-1 lead at the half.
Nearly all of the good chances in the second half belonged to the home side as OCB was unable to create anything truly dangerous. The first good chance for the Red Bulls came in the 62nd minute when Flemmings sent a bending cross into the box. But nobody was there to connect and OCB escaped with a goal kick. Four minutes later, the Red Bulls nearly scored again when Abidor played the ball on the ground to Flemmings at the six but Edwards beat the striker to the ball.
The Red Bulls finally were able to put the game away in the 87th minute through a mental mistake by OCB. As the Lions set up the wall for a Red Bulls free kick just outside the box, Bezecourt quickly played the ball over the wall to an oncoming Abidor who found himself with no marker. It was an easy touch past Edwards into the back of the net, giving the home team the 3-1 win.
The loss in New Jersey leaves the young Lions with four points from their first five games and in eighth in the USL’s Eastern Conference. They’ll take the field next on Tuesday night when they take on the Harrisburg City Islanders in Pennsylvania at the unusual midweek start time of 6:30 p.m.
Starting XI: Edwards; Jules, Thomsen, Carroll, Timbo; Martz (Sane, 71’), Schweitzer, Kraft, Da Silva; Cox, Dikwa.
Unused Subs: Fenlason, Donovan, Clowes, Gallardo, Polk.
Goals: OCB — Dikwa (34’), NY — Flemmings (16’), Bezecourt (45’+3), Abidor (87’).
Yellows: OCB — Jules (53’), NY — Abidor (39’), Ndam (57’).