The New York Red Bulls II broke Nashville SC’s six-game undefeated streak, while North Carolina FC notched its third consecutive victory as it completed a season sweep of the Tampa Bay Rowdies in Wednesday night’s action in the USL Championship.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Red Bulls II rallied to extend its lead at the top of the Eastern Conference as it broke Nashville’s six-game undefeated streak with victory at First Tennessee Park. Nashville almost took the lead in just the third minute as a shot by Daniel Rios from 10 yards took a big deflection off NYRB II defender Jordan Scarlett and was palmed over by goalkeeper Evan Louro. The early pressure from the hosts paid off in the 10th minute, however, as a corner kick found Ken Tribbett for a header to the left corner and an early lead. The Red Bulls II came back into the game as the half progressed, however, and a minute before the break Jared Stroud put home a low cross at the back post after a low cross by Kyle Duncan from the right side to leave the teams even at the break. New York threatened five minutes into the second half as a free kick from 25 yards by Chris Lema was punched away by NSC goalkeeper Conner Sparrow as it almost picked out the left corner, and Ben Mines had a shot deflected wide in the 55th minute. Nashville was reduced to 10 men with 25 minutes to go as Forrest Lasso was sent off for his second yellow card of the half, and the Red Bulls II quickly took the lead in the 71st minute as Duncan rifled home a finish to the right corner off a short free kick that left him space 25 yards from goal. Nashville’s Ropapa Mensah headed just over the crossbar in the second minute of stoppage time off a cross from the left by Taylor Washington as the hosts looked to try and salvage an equalizer late, but New York held onto its lead to open a four-point lead at the top of the Eastern Conference standings.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Kyle Duncan, New York Red Bulls II – Duncan scored his first professional goal and added an earlier assist to lead the comeback for the visitors in a big victory at the top of the Eastern Conference standings.
CARY, N.C. – Steven Miller scored a pair of goals as NCFC won for the fourth time in the last five games, downing the Rowdies at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park. North Carolina’s Justin Rennicks created the first good look on goal in the 14th minute as he got in behind the defense before cutting back onto his left foot on the right side of the penalty area, but his finish went just over the crossbar. Five minutes later, however, the hosts had the lead as Rennicks cut back to Dre Fortune just inside the top of the penalty area for a first-time finish that found the net. The Rowdies responded with back-to-back chances in the 23rd minute as Kwadwo Poku’s initial shot from 20 yards was saved by NCFC goalkeeper Alex Tambakis, who then recovered to keep out the rebound opportunity for Sebastian Guenzatti. NCFC’s Donovan Ewolo had a low shot parried wide by Rowdies goalkeeper Macklin Robinson in the 31st minute to keep it a one-goal game, and two minutes later the visitors were level as a low shot by Guenzatti from a tight angle from the right took a slight deflection that caught out Tambakis and slipped into the net. North Carolina regained the lead five minutes into the second half, however, as a low corner kick by Fortune found Steven Miller for a low, first-time finish. Ewolo almost added a third for the hosts in the 57th minute as his shot deflected just wide of the right post, while the Rowdies went close with 20 minutes to go as Guenzatti’s sliding finish went just wide of the left post after a low cross through the six-yard area by Juan Tejada. Six minutes later, however, North Carolina took a two-goal lead as Manny Perez drove into the right side of the penalty area and his low cross deflected off Rowdies defender Pape Diakite and past Robinson into the net for an own goal. Miller then wrapped up all three points with 11 minutes to go DJ Taylor picked out his captain for a first-time finish to the bottom-left corner and his second goal of the night. The Rowdies pulled back a late consolation as Tejada scored off a corner kick in the final minute, but a comeback was not on the cards as the hosts saw out their victory.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Steven Miller, North Carolina FC – Miller’s pair of second-half goals led the hosts to victory and a season sweep of the Rowdies.