Something old, something new, something borrowed, something red?
Tom Barlow returned to the New York Red Bulls II Wednesday night, and he showed all of the hallmarks that made him one of the top strikers in USL through the first two months of the season before moving up to the MLS. Barlow, loaned down for the match, scored twice and added an assist, to earn a come from behind 4-3 victory at Bethlehem Steel FC.
Tom Barlow’s return provided NYRBII a significant boost. After a string of early chances, Barlow opened the scoring in the 15th minute. Marcus Epps sent a lofted through ball towards Barlow. The striker ran onto the ball, and finished low, scoring his 9th goal of the season. NYRBII’s offense slowed following Barlow’s move to MLS. The goal showed his quality is irreplaceable.
The Steel responded in the 23rd minute. Faris Pemi Moumbagna scored his sixth of the season. Similar to Barlow, Moumbagna received a lofted through ball from Anthony Fontana. After taking the ball down off of his shoulder, Moumbagna opened up space with a well timed turn, leaving Jordan Scarlett helpless. Evan Louro rushed out to close down space, but Moumbagna placed his low shot well, leveling the match.
The second half proved more exciting than the opening 45 minutes.
The Steel moved in front 17 seconds into the second half. Issa Rayyan drove forward following the kickoff. NYRBII gave the ball away at midfield, and James Chambers played Rayyan about 40 yards from goal. Rayyan took advantage of lackadaisical defending, firing in a shot far post into the net. Rayyan added a second in the 58th minute. Following a counter attack, Fontana beat Louro on the dribble, and fired a shot blocked away. A second shot deflected off of Preston Kilwien, and fell to Rayyan unmarked at the top of the box. He slotted his shot in to extend the lead for the Steel.
Oddly, following his second goal, Rayyan forced himself to vomit. The bizarre scene was shown on broadcast, but quickly cut away. Whatever the issue, Rayyan remained on the field for ten more minutes following the incident, but ultimately was removed from the match.
Jared Stroud, making his 50th appearance for NYRBII and on his 23rd birthday, pulled a goal back for the Red Bulls in the 76th minute. Janos Loebe cut inside, then played a delicate through ball to Stroud in the box. Stroud put the ball through the goalkeeper’s legs, halving the deficit.
Barlow showed his quality again in the 82nd minute. John Tolkin, making his debut, played a well-weighted, lofted through ball to Tom Barlow. Barlow calmly brought the ball down, dribbled into the box, and fired in his second goal of the match. Barlow than played provider in the 89th minute. On a counter attack, Barlow received the ball down the left flank. He crossed to the back post to Jared Stroud. The birthday boy scored again, putting NYRBII into the lead with minutes to go in the match.
NYRBII improve to 10-4-4 following the win over the Steel. Next up, they return to MSU Soccer Park to face Atlanta United 2.
Photo by John Perdicaro