|Photo Credit: Matt Kremkau
by Garry Redman
HARRISON, NJ - The scoreless draw in Yankee Stadium on Saturday has put the team nearly on the brink of being eliminated from playoff contention. While no one on the team wants to admit it or not, if the team has any plans to join the nine teams that qualify for the postseason, the time was now to walk away with three points.
Not capitalizing on scoring chances has been a stubborn and repetitively sore subject during Gerhard Struber's tenure, but now has fully manifested under Troy Lesesne. And it didn't take long for those scoring opportunities to evaporate for in the 2nd minute, Elias Manoel took a pass from Frankie Amaya, but his shot drifted high and to his left into the seats, as a collective groan of frustration came from the home supporters.
But less than four minutes later, off a set piece, the Red Bulls got on the board thanks to John Tolkin serving a terrific ball into the mixer. Dante Vanzeir delivered a fantastic volley that deflected off Emiliano Rigoni into the back of the net. And for a moment, things were looking up for the home team for a change.
Daniel Edelman picked up a yellow card in the 8th minute, meaning he will miss the match with D.C. United on Saturday. However, as it has been the case all season for the beleaguered Belgian forward, Vanzier suffered yet another injury five minutes later and was subbed off in the 18th minute, replaced by Omir Fernandez.
The one-goal lead quickly disappeared as Austin FC managed to get a goal just before halftime off a set piece, this time on a corner kick from a foul conceded by Sean Nealis. From there, Jhojan Valencia delivered a near-perfect ball in the box. Sebastian Driussi headed the ball into the open net, leaving the supporters and the head coach visibly frustrated as the half came to a close.
Sensing some semblance of desperation to get three points in front of the home supporters, the Red Bulls showed signs of life in the second half. But no matter how much the home side pressed the attack, Austin was there with the response as both teams struggled to get any traction offensively.
Luquinhas looked like he was tackled in the box, thinking he drew a penalty in front of the referee as the fans in attendance howled angrily in disagreement. From there, almost every tackle that Luquinhas was involved in, the official was non-committal on making the call.
Looking to score the match-winning goal any way they could as the match neared stoppage time, Head Coach Troy Lesesne rolled the dice one last time by substituting Peter Stoud, Cory Burke, and Tom Barlow on the 88th minute. However, despite the changes, Troy and his team could get no closer and still haven't scored a goal since July.
And once again, as the match ended in a disappointing draw, the team found themselves in the same position when former Head Coach Gerhard Struber was relieved of his duties back on May 8. WIth now five matches remaining in the 2023 MLS Regular Season, the team now must earn points on the road, something that they have only done once this season, but this time at the home of their hated rivals, D.C. United on Saturday.
New York Red Bulls: Carlos Coronel, Kyle Duncan, Andres Reyes, Sean Nealis, John Tolkin, Frankie Amaya, Dru Yearwood (Jorge Hurtado 68’), Daniel Edelman (Peter Stroud 88’), Elias Manoel (Cory Burke 88’), Dante Vanzeir (Omir Fernandez 18’) (Tom Barlow 88’), Luquinhas
Austin FC: Brad Struver, Alex Ring, Leo Vaisanen, Jon Gallagher, Nick Lima, Jhojan Valencia, Dani Pereira, Emiliano Rigoni, Owen Wolff, Sebastian Driussi (Memo Rodriguez 90’), Maxi Urruti
7' - Austin FC - Emiliano Rigoni - Own Goal
44' - Austin FC - Sebastian Driussi, assisted by Jhojan Valencia
9' - New York Red Bulls - Daniel Edelman - Yellow Card
61' - New York Red Bulls - Dru Yearwood - Yellow Card
84' - Austin FC - Nick Lima - Yellow Card
82' - Austin FC - Maxi Urriti - Yellow Card