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Analysis: Mistakes early and often doom Red Bulls II

In a key match for both teams in Group F, the New York Red Bulls II crossed the state to meet up with Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC at Highmark Stadium. With both teams separated only by three points for second place, the one thing that John Wolyniec's crew wanted to avoid was giving opponents a fast start early on. Especially to a team that was coached by Bob Lilly.

Early goal puts Baby Bulls in a Hole

However, just two minutes in, Samad Bounthong fouled Ropapa Mensah in the box, and referee Austin Saini awarded a penalty kick to Pittsburgh. Bounthong received a yellow card for his efforts. Robbie Mertz then converted the penalty kick to give the home side the early one-goal lead.

After the first hydration break, the Red Bulls began to assert themselves with some key chances as Jake LaCava found some space on the right side of the penalty area by delivering a curling shot that went just of the post. The Riverhounds would answer with a chance of their own as Ropapa Mensah's header was saved by Red Bulls keeper Wallis Lapsley. However, much to Wolyniec's dismay, despite their chances, the Red Bulls did not register a single shot on goal due to sloppy play that was exhibited toward the end of the first half.

Mistakes Continue to Haunt, then Hurt

As the second half began, Red Bulls' frustrations continued as they had trouble stringing passes together to mount an attack. Just as they began to knock on the door offensively, yet another mistake reared its ugly head as Ryan James danced past the Red Bulls backline, passed the ball to Robbie Mertz who tapped the ball in the back of the net to put them up by two in the 61st minute.

The head-scratching mistakes would continue for the Red Bulls just four minutes later, off a goal kick, defender Raymond Lee caught the Red Bulls defenders napping, pounced on the loose ball passed it to a wide-open Ropapa Mensah and he blasted a shot past keeper Wallis Lapsley for a 3-0 lead. 

But the Riverhounds were not quite done. Pittsburgh midfielder Anthony Velarde, just minutes off the bench as a substitute, would tack on another goal in the 80th minute to make it 4-0 for the home side. 

But Dantouma (Yaya) Toure would get one back for the Red Bulls as he received a nice pass from Cheif Dieye, who pivoted and blasted the ball past keeper Tomas Gomez to finally get them on the scoreboard before the final whistle. The goal would be his first as a professional player.

by Garry Redman


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