The New York Red Bulls continued their rise up the Eastern Conference table, scoring late to defeat FC Cincinnati.
The Red Bulls struggled offensively, but ultimately broke the deadlock thanks to goals from Kaku and Omir Fernandez, winning 2-0.
The Red Bulls entered the match on short rest, rotating in six players following the draw midweek against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Tom Barlow started up top for the Red Bulls, but failed to add to his scoring tally after netting the winner against Atlanta United FC last weekend. Marc Rzatkowski took over for Kaku as playmaker ahead of Cristian Cásseres Jr. and Sean Davis.
Both FCC and the Red Bulls started the match brimming with energy. The teams spent the opening 30 minutes passing and prodding, looking for defensive vulnerabilities. FCC created better chances, utilizing their speed and attempting to play in behind the Red Bulls backline. Luis Robles made a few big saves to keep the match level.
The first half ended scoreless, and FCC were unlucky not to be leading. They continued to push the match in the second half, and the Red Bulls continued to struggle. After 70 minutes, the Red Bulls had yet to register a shot on goal. Second half subs Kaku and Brian White made an impact on the match, but FCC’s compact defense continued to frustrate the Red Bulls.
Kaku finally broke the deadlock in the 78th minute. Mathieu Deplagne had the ball hang up in his feet, allowing Kaku to steal the ball and dribble in alone. Kaku calmly finished to the left side of the goal, placing his shot under Spencer Richey. Kaku had not scored a goal since October 2018. Every goal Kaku has scored for the Red Bulls has been a game winning goal.
Like déjà-vu, FCC entered the final minutes of the game attacking furiously and trying to claw back into the match from a losing position against the Red Bulls. Despite their resolve, the Red Bulls held firm, seeing out the win, their second straight on the road. Their push forward left room behind their defense.
Omir Fernandez, the Red Bulls final sub in the match, took advantage of the space. Michael Murillo found Brian White on the right wing. The striker sent a perfectly placed cross to Fernandez. The first year home grown player’s diving header beat Spencer Richey and settled into the net.
The Red Bulls improve to 6-5-3 following the win, ending their congested week with seven out of a possible nine points. The Red Bulls are also now undefeated in four matches, their longest run of the season. Since defeating FCC nearly a month ago, the Red Bulls have lost only once in a span of six matches.
Photo by Bill Twomey Photography