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RECAP: Red Bulls Advance, Run Wild Over Charlotte FC, 5-2

Photo Credit: Matt Kremkau

By Garry Redman

HARRISON, NJ - The "Special Club" that Head Coach Troy Lesesne mentioned has made the playoffs for the 14th consecutive time in their history. Fortunately, they have earned the right to take on the ninth-seeded Charlotte FC, looking to end their season in the usual frustrating fashion. 

The Red Bulls do very well when they score first, something they have yet to do often this season. When they do, they usually end up on the winning end of a match. 

Their record of 12-2-3 proves that fact. And it didn't take long for the Red Bull to get on the board. The man Charlotte didn't want to see on the scoresheet did just that in the tenth minute. Taking a pass from Daniel Edleman, chested the ball down and then let off a blistering shot that bounced past the diving Kristijan Kahilna to grab the lead.

The Red Bulls scored their second goal in the 26th minute. Luquinhas was fouled outside the box, and from the resulting set piece, John Tolkin fired a powerful shot into the top corner of the net. The ball went just over the outstretched hands of the Charlotte FC goalkeeper. For Tolkin, it was his 100th appearance across all competitions.

In the 37th minute, John Tolkin sprinted down the sideline and saw an open Elias Manoel, not marked by any Charlotte defender. Elias Manoel then turned and quickly scored his second goal of the match by launching the ball over the helpless Charlotte goalkeeper, much to the delight of the home supporters.

By the time the whistle blew, ending the first 45 minutes played, the home supporters and fans rose as one applauding the team off the field, enjoying a satisfactory three-goal advantage.

The second half began with the usually reliable New York defense making a mistake, which Charlotte FC quickly capitalized on. Karol Swiderski was able to beat Omir Fernandez, who slipped and fell, opening up a gap for the ball to be passed to Kerwin Vargas. Vargas then executed a stunning bicycle kick that found the back of the net. This goal frustrated Carlos Coronel, who was left wondering what went wrong as his team's clean sheet disappeared.

In the 56th minute, the Red Bulls managed to score a goal against Charlotte FC by executing crisp passing which resulted in tearing apart the defense of the latter team. Luquinhas found himself in the Charlotte defense and skillfully passed the ball to John Tolkin, who one-touched it to Tom Barlow. Barlow then rushed towards the goalpost and scored, thus restoring the three-goal advantage.

However, Charlotte would not go quietly in the 64th minute as Patrick Agyemang took the ball from Kristijan Kahlina and just rushed right toward the New York defense, seemingly unable to stop him, he finished by scoring the sixth goal of the match, as the home supporters were stunned witnessing the latest developments on the field.

But in the 78th minute, it would be Charlotte FC's supporters who would be stunned as Elias Manoel delivered his third goal of the match taking a pass from Luquinhas, running virtually unopposed until he blasted the ball past Kahilna, sending the supporters into near delirium, openly wondering where was this offensive explosion all season.

At that point, Charlotte could do nothing but raise the white flag of surrender while the Red Bulls marched on to Face FC Cincinnati in the First Round of the 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs. For Troy Lesesne and his "Special Club", the season continues for yet another week.

Starting Lineups:

New York Red Bulls: Carlos Coronel, Kyle Duncan, Andres Reyes, John Tolkin (26'), Omir Fernandez (Dylan Nealis 69'), Daniel Edelman, Frankie Amaya, Luquinhas, Tom Barlow, Elias Manoel (10', 37')

Charlotte FC: Kristijan Kahilna, Nathan Byrne, Adilson Malanda, Andrew Privett, Jere Uronen (Patrick Agymang (46') 64'), Karol Swiderski, Ashley Westwood, Brandt Bronico, Kamil Jozwiak (Brecht Dejaghere 66'), Enzo Copetti (Scott Arfield 66'), Kerwin Vargas (49') (Justin Mearam 76')

Scoring Summary:
10' - New York Red Bulls - Elias Manoel, assisted by Daniel Edelman
26' - New York Red Bulls - John Tolkin, unassisted
37' - New York Red Bulls - Elias Manoel, assisted by John Tolkin
49' - Charlotte FC - Kerwin Vargas, assisted by Karol Swiderski
56' - New York Red Bulls - Tom Barlow, assisted by John Tolkin
64' - Charlotte FC - Patrick Agyemang, assisted by Kristijan Kahlina
78' - New York Red Bulls - Elias Manoel, assisted by Luquinhas

Disciplinary Summary:
25' - Charlotte FC - Adilson Malanda - Yellow Card
33' - Charlotte FC - Enzo Copetti - Yellow Card

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