Valot, Red Bulls see off FCC in MLS opener

The New York Rede Bulls started off 2020 the right way, winning their home opener over FC Cincinnati easily, despite some late drama.

Following a difficult season in 2019, and no reinforcements ahead of 2020, expectations remained low for the red side of New York. The match featured a strong return to the starting XI, notching a pair of assists on route to a 3-2 victory of the visitors.

The Red Bulls bossed the first half. Their new approach to the press yielded immediate results, creating numerous chances in dangerous positions. FCC played into the Red Bulls hands, attempting to play the ball out of the back through the middle of the field.

In the 16th minute, the Red Bulls drew first blood. Following a quick attack up the wing, the Red Bulls nearly lost possession. Daniel Royer stretched and slid to keep the ball in play. Royer looked up and sent the ball to Florian Valot. Valot saw Kyle Duncan running into space on the right side of the box, and played him in. Duncan stayed calm, and chipped the ball in, making up for his miss minutes earlier.

The Red Bulls doubled their advantage in the 28th minute. The high press forced FCC into a turnover in their defensive half of the field. Valot picked up the ball and drove toward the goal, then sent the ball to Kaku, making a late run into the box. Kaku neatly finished low, far-post with his left foot.

FCC answered back following the break. A defensive breakdown left the Red Bulls exposed on the counter. Brandon Vázquez streaked down the right, pulling Amro Tarek and Parker out of position and allowing Allan Cruz space in the box. Vázquez squared the ball, and Crus finished easily.

The Red Bulls answered back in the 70th minute. The Red Bulls once again used their transition game to unlock the FCC defense. Kyle Duncan received the ball on the right wing, cut inside, and found Daniel Royer unmarked on the left wing. Royer cut the ball back on his right foot, and fired his shot across his body.

FCC provided unexpected pressure to finish the match after newcomer Jurgen Locadia scored in the 83rd minute. The ball snuck past the backline following a deflection, and Locadia drove in on David Jensen’s net unimpeded. Jensen saved Locadia’s initial shot, but spilled the ball behind him. Locadia calmly picked up the rebound and struck it home. FCC pushed for an equalizer but came up short in the waning minutes.

Next up, the Red Bulls head west to take on Real Salt Lake on March 7th.

Photo by Bill Twomey Photography

About Joseph Goldstein

Joseph Goldstein is the managing editor of RBNN as well as the co-host of the Seeing Red and Raising Bulls podcasts.

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