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RECAP: Red Bulls Advance, Knockout Atletico de San Luis, 2-1

photo by Matt Kremkau
by Garry Redman

HARRISON, NJ - Last weekend, the Red Bulls began their Leagues Cup campaign on a good note by holding the New England Revolution's high-powered offense scoreless but earned two points by winning the shootout, 5-4. Putting them in a position where they only need a single point to advance to the next round.

However, Atlètico de San Luis came in as the more desperate team with their backs against the wall after getting pummeled by New England 4-1 on Wednesday, putting them in a must-win situation for them to advance, setting the stage where everything was on the line for both teams on a pleasantly warm evening in Northern New Jersey.

With the two teams facing each other for the first time, there would be an expected "feeling out" period early on. But head coach Troy Lessene was adamant about his team's expectations during the pre-match press conference: "We do not want to play for a draw." Nothing less than three points at the final whistle would suffice that evening. 

And seven minutes into the match, New York almost did just that. From a corner kick, Luquinas picked up the rebound to bounce the ball into the net, but after further review, the official judged that Tom Barlow was caught in an offside position, with the ball bouncing off of him and thus negating the goal. 

San Luis nearly caught the New York midfielders napping in the 16th minute, but the linesman raised his flag, albeit late, just as the ball went in the back of the net, saving the Red Bulls from being behind a goal.

Red Bulls had three chances to get on the scoreboard off set pieces but could not finish. The equally clueless turnovers that should be more clinical to sustain those chances were added to the frustration. 

As the match began to open up, the fouls were coming in hot and heavy, with yellow cards to follow from the official. 

Red Bulls had one more chance as Tom Barlow charged toward the net in stoppage time but was pushed from behind by Unai Bilbao. Despite Tom protesting, no foul was or would be called, and the official ended an even but entertaining first half. 

The second half began nearly in disastrous fashion as back-to-back turnovers in the back nearly cost the Red Bulls dearly. Fortunately for them, San Luis did not make them pay, keeping the match scoreless. 

The Red Bulls finally broke through in the 56th minute off a corner kick beautifully delivered by John Tolkin, and Dante Vanzier did the rest, the ball glancing off his head and into the back of the net for the lead.

But the lead that New York worked so hard to get would not last. San Luis struck back in the 69th minute as Jhon Murrillo took a shot from the center of the box that was initially saved by Carlos Coronel, but the ball went right back to Murrillo, who slipped the rebound past a helpless Coronel to even the match at one goal apiece.

Dante Vanzer tried to sneak one past the San Luis goalkeeper off the left post in the 80th minute, but Diego Uriaga was up to the task, making the key save
As mentioned before, Atlètico de San Luis came into this match as the most desperate side, needing a win to advance from the group, and they began to push for the match winner, knowing that the match ending in a draw would not help matters. 

And in the 88th minute, they received a lifeline as Lèo Bonatini drew a foul in the box, earning the penalty. But, as he has done all season, Carlos Coronel came up colossal, making the save. Less than two minutes later, it would be John Tolkin finding Dante Vanzier with a through ball, and he finished the match, rushing down the field and easily slotting the ball past the keeper to give the hosts a one-goal advantage.

But, just as fans were finished celebrating, Elias Manoel put the match to bed with his goal less than two minutes into stoppage time. However, after a check by VAR, the official waived the goal. But the damage was already done, and the Red Bulls advance to the knockout round against New York City Football Club on August 2.

Starting Lineups:

New York Red Bulls: Carlos Coronel, John Tolkin, Sean Nealis, Hassan Ndam, Cameron Harper, Luquinhas (Dru Yearwood '72), Daniel Edelman, Frankie Amaya, Omir Fernandez (Ronald Donkor 72'), Tom Barlow, Dante Vanzier (56')

Atlètico de San Luis: Diego Uriaga, Ricardo Chavez (Benjamin Galames '86), Julio Cesar Dominguez, Unai Bilbao, Juna Sanabria, Rodrigo Dourado, Javier Guemez (Sebastien Salles-Lamonge '71), Vitinho, Dieter Villalpando, Lèo Bonatini

56' - NY - Dante Vanzier, assisted by John Tolkin
69' - ASL - Jhon Murillo, unassisted
90+2' - NY - Dante Vanzier, assisted by John Tolkin

17' - ASL - Rodrigo Dourado - Yellow Card
32' - ASL - Dieter Villalpando - Yellow Card
35' - NY - Frankie Amaya - Yellow Card
37' - NY - Dante Vanzier - Yellow Card
73' - ASL - Jhon Murillo - Yellow Card
87' - NY - John Tolkin - Yellow Card


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