The New York Red Bulls II earned a big victory at MSU Soccer Park Friday night against leaders Tampa Bay Rowdies.
After falling to the Rowdies on the road earlier this season, NYRBII prepared a strong lineup to get the opposite result at home. Tom Barlow and Mathias Jørgensen started up top together, providing a speedy threat that challenged the Rowdies all match long. John Tolken started in the midfield in place of the injured Kyle Zajec and Jean-Christophe Koffi on yellow card suspension.
Jørgensen provided the scoring on the night, leading NYRBII to a 2-0 victory.
The Rowdies controlled the opening minutes of the match, using possession and making NYRBII chase the ball around the midfield. Despite not creating many solid chances, NYRBII struggled to clear the ball from their own end. A defensive mistake changed the story.
NYRBII drew first blood in the 18th minute. Mathias Jørgensen intercepted a soft back pass intended for Macklin Robinson. Jørgensen beat Robinson with his first touch, sending the goalkeeper sprawling on the ground. The striker then walked the ball into the net, scoring his seventh goal of the season.
Jørgensen doubled his tally in the 34th minute. John Tolkin drove the ball forward with NYRBII in transition. Tolkin played a perfectly measured through ball to Jørgensen as the striker fooled the Rowdies backline with a smart run. Jørgensen collected the ball, then fired a shot with his right foot. Robinson got a touch on the shot, but it spilled behind him and into the net.
NYRBII capitalized on their chances, while the Rowdies struggled to beat Evan Louro. Louro made a number of big stops in the first half, frustrating the Rowdies at every turn. The saves energized NYRBII during stretches where they struggled, and the second Jørgensen goal came following one of the saves.
The Rowdies earned advantage in the 62nd minute. Kyle Duncan earned a second yellow card for stopping a promising attack. The numbers advantage gave the Rowdies a lifeline for the balance of the second half. NYRBII still found chances in transition.
NYRBII improve to 12-4-5 following the win, and move to within two points of the Rowdies in first place. Next up, NYRBII take on Saint Louis FC on August 2nd at MSU.