The New York Red Bulls II opened the season with a bang, beating 2016 USL Championship opponent Swope Park Rangers at home.
Tom Barlow and Marcus Epps started the season on the front foot contributing three goals between them in the 3-1 victory.
NYRBII started strong, but wasted numerous chances in the opening half, a theme that continued throughout the match, despite the lopsided scoreline. Tom Barlow wasted half a dozen chances in on goal, but came through for the team in the end.
In the 26th minute, Tom Barlow opened the scoring. Marcus Epps sent a well weighted through ball, beating the backline and forcing Dick to come out of his box to cut off the pass. Barlow got to the ball first, rounded the keeper, and walked the ball into the open net.
The Rangers pulled a goal back just before halftime. In the 44th minute, Felipe Hernandez deftly volleyed a cross back across goal, fooling Louro. The goal came against the run of play, but it highlighted NYRBII’s wastefulness in front of goal in the first half.
Barlow had numerous chances throughout the first but failed to beat Dick. The Rangers’ goalkeeper stood tall, denying the Red Bulls the opportunity to extend their lead. NYRBII outshot the Rangers 6 to 1 in the first half and walked to the locker room with the match tied.
Epps put NYRBII back in front in the 56th minute. Bezecourt played the ball to Epps at the top of the box. The winger recognized the defensive pressure dropped to cover the runners. That bought Epps space and he took a shot from the top of the box. The ball curled in the right post.
Barlow extended the lead for NYRBII in the 62nd minute. Jared Stroud provided a delicate through ball for Barlow. The striker held up his nerve and softly placed the ball into the net.
NYRBII spend the next few weeks off, returning to MSU Soccer Park on March 24th to face Nashville SC.
Man of the match
Marcus Epps took control of the offense, providing danger out wide and when he pinched in. His pass to Barlow to open the scoring was picture perfect. His effectiveness out wide provides another dimension to a talented attack.