|photo by Matt Kremkau
The match before the big match of the season as the New York Red Bulls headed down to the Capital of the State of Texas in Austin. The hope was to see this young team survive not only the heat of the evening but the red hot attacking and goal-scoring of Austin FC at the Q2. But what we got was a fantastic match for an entire 90 minutes.
What we also got was a Red Bulls side that showed how dangerous they can be with their pressing against a high-powered offense that honestly didn't know what to do with themselves when they tried to defend their own net. Even though the Red Bulls scored two goals that were wiped out due to the offside flag, you can see that they got Austin FC right where they wanted them & then the goal parade started to come.
Serge Ngoma with a blast that somehow Austin FC goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell misplayed or took his eye off it and he nutmegged himself. Or when Dru Yearwood stole the ball from the Austin defenders after they collected the rebound and he smashed it inside the back post. He also helped himself by stealing another ball and setting up substitute Cameron Harper who cut in and buried his chance, but the final goal came from Tom Barlow who timed his run perfectly and with a half volley buried his chance to make it four to one.
Everything was clicking for the Red Bulls and even though Sebastian Drussi was the danger man for Austin FC with his two goals and assist to push his side back into the match, to make it a one-goal game, you saw this Red Bulls side continue to play strong defense and pushing to attack for the fifth goal in this contest.
When Austin FC tried to make their comeback stand, it wasn't a case of poor defending by this Red Bulls side, they were beaten by three golaso's from Austin by two men, Drussi and Ethan Finlay who just stuck his foot out and redirected the ball from the scissors cross by Drussi late in the match. Other than that Austin looked outmatched, confused, and leaky in their backline.
Give Head Coach Gerhard Struber credit for rotating the squad and keeping half of his starters on the substitutes bench to rest them for the big Semi-Final matchup in the US Open Cup this coming Wednesday, down in Orlando as Lewis Morgan was never used, subbing in Cristian Casserers Jr. and Luquinhas late in the match.
Sadly the only negative was seeing Ngoma falling down all on his own on the pitch due to a hamstring muscle pull in his right leg and had to be subbed out in the middle of the first half. Hopefully, it's not too bad and he can continue his young MLS career. But one thing is for certain, this young and hungry Red Bulls side is coming together very well and now they need to remain in the top three positions in the east to host a playoff match & continue their run in the US Open Cup.