The New York Red Bulls II won their second road match of the season, avenging the loss to Atlanta United 2 in 2018.
Last season, the NYRBII faced ATL2 in their first ever match, falling 3-1. NYRBII turned the tables in 2019, mirroring the scoreline and proving too much for ATL2.
NYRBII entered the match missing a number or regular starters. A combination of the international break, MLS team needs, and a yellow card suspension left John Wolyniec with a makeshift squad.
Rece Buckmaster started in the center of the defense with Preston Kilwien, while Janos Loebe filled in at left back. Further up the field, academy product Jaciel Cedeno started on the right side of the midfield, and Chris Lema filled in the #10 role in the center.
Along with Cedeno, a few other academy players featured in the match. Sal Esposito made his third appearance with NYRBII, alongside debutantes Conner Maurer (CB) and Bryce Lebel (CM).
Despite the adversity, NYRBII won the match easily, defeating the home side 3-1.
NYRBII rolled with the punches well, creating issues for ATL2, but missing the final pass at times. The visitors appeared to open the scoring early in the half, but Jared Stroud’s goal was called back for offside.
ATL2 found chances going forward, but good emergency NYRBII defending and Evan Louro kept the match level until NYRBII scored the breakthrough just before halftime.
Edgardo Rito opened the scoring in the 44th minute on a well placed shot. Rito bombed down the right side, loosed by a Jeciel Cedeno pass, waltzing into the box unopposed. As ATL2 goalkeeper Dylan Castanheira came out of the net, he cheated towards the far post. Rito kept his shot low to the near post, slotting it into the net easily.
Following the break, NYRBII wasted no time doubling the lead. In the 47th minute, Chris Lema sprung Sebastian Elney on a quick counter attack. Elney beat the ATL2 backline, then slotted his shot into the net, again beating Castanheira at the near post. It was Elney’s first professional goal.
ATL2 pulled a goal back in the 66th minute. A quick transition and a heads-up pass from Patrick Onkonkwo sent Brandon Vazquez in on goal. Vazquez patiently let the ball run, then fired his shot passed an onrushing Evan Louro.
With ATL2 climbing back into the match, NYRBII extended their lead back to two goals in the 76th minute. Lema took a free kick from the right side of the box. Kyle Zajec made a near post run, putting a slight deflection on Lema’s free kick. The deflection allowed the ball to loop up over Castanheira and into the net.
It was Zajec third goal in the last two matches. The goal marked NYRBII’s 30th of the season, the first team in the Eastern Conference to reach 30 goals this season.
NYRBII improve to 8-3-2 following the victory, keeping pace with leaders Tampa Bay Rowdies.
Photo by John Perdicaro