The New York Red Bulls II moved back to the top of the Eastern Conference with an emphatic win over Birmingham Legion FC Wednesday Night.
Coming into the match, five first team players joined NYRBII’s starting XI. Mathias Jørgensen, Derrick Etienne Jr., Andreas Ivan, Ryan Meara, and Sean Nealis started for NYRBII. The group showed their class, controlling large portions of the match and scoring in a second half burst leading to a 4-0 victory.
Mathias Jørgensen scored a brace in the match, showing improved scoring instincts during his run with NYRBII over the last month.
In the 24th minute, Derrick Etienne opened the scoring on a solo effort. The Legion misplayed a pass through the center midfield. Etienne picked up the errant ball and dribbled in alone, then remained calm and finished low at the right post.
Etienne and Andreas Ivan showed well in the first half. Both players have struggled to get minutes with New York Red Bulls in MLS, but they made the most of their appearance on an otherwise dreary evening.
The Legion created better chances in the first half, but Ryan Meara made a number of good saves to keep NYRBII in the lead. Meara kept a shutout in his first start at NYRBII against Hartford Athletic, and once again he showed his shot stopping prowess. Meara kept his second consecutive clean sheet, blanking the Legion.
NYRBII extended their lead in the 56th minute on a corner kick. Sean Nealis scored his first professional goal, making a run to the backpost and nodding down Chris Lema’s looping service. One minute later, Mathias Jørgensen put NYRBII even further ahead. Derrick Etienne held the ball at the top of the box, then slotted a pass into space for Jørgensen. The young striker fired the ball into the net from 10 yards out.
Jørgensen scored his brace in the 81st minute. Second half substitute Jared Stroud carried the ball forward in midfield. Recognizing a lack of pressure from the Legion, Stroud struck a hard low shot from the top of the box. Legion goalkeeper Matt Van Oekel saved Stroud’s effort, but spilled a rebound directly into the path of Jørgensen for an easy finish.
Tom Barlow scored his eighth goal of the season in the 89th minute. Barlow received the ball in the box, cut back onto his left foot and fired a shot. His strike deflected off a defender and snuck in the far post. The strike moved Barlow to the top of the USL scoring chart.
NYRBII improve to 6-1-1 on the season with the victory. Next up, they travel to Ottawa to take on the Fury, Wednesday, May 8th.