Photo courtesy of New York Red Bulls II
HARRISON, N.J. – The New York Red Bulls II moved back into first place in the Eastern Conference on Friday with a 5-1 victory against Orlando City B at Red Bull Arena. The game also marked the first in which the International Football Association Board oversaw a live Video Assistant Referee trial, and it played a significant role – without breaking the flow – during the match. Florian Valot created an eighth-minute opportunity that led to an own goal by OCB’s Conor Donovan. Brandon Allen added his team-leading 10th goal of the season with a 62nd-minute penalty kick conversion. Devon “Speedy” Williams notched a third goal for NYRBII in the 66th minute, and then Junior Flemmings and Zoumana Simpara scored in the closing minutes. Late in the first half, following Donovan’s foul against Flemmings as the last defender during the run, referee Ismail Elfath utilized the VAR system in all of 24 seconds to rule a sending off of Donovan in the 36th minute. With the win, NYRBII improved to 14-3-5 (47 points) overall, moving one point ahead of Louisville City FC (13-3-7, 46 points). Orlando dropped to 8-7-7 (31 points) and saw its nine-game unbeaten streak (4-0-5) come to a close. It was OCB’s first loss since a 3-1 defeat to FC Cincinnati on May 4 at the Titan Soccer Complex. Orlando’s Michael Cox tallied his team-leading ninth goal midway through the second half while the team played shorthanded.
8’ – NY – Conor Donovan (own goal)
62’ – NY – Brandon Allen (penalty)
66’ – NY – Devon “Speedy” Williams (Vincent Bezecourt)
68’ – ORL – Michael Cox
87’ – NY – Junior Flemmings
90’+ – NY – Zoumana Simpara
Three Things That Mattered:
1. The VAR system was put into play with approximately 10 minutes remaining in the first half and New York holding a 1-0 lead. Referee Ismail Elfath ruled that OCB defender Conor Donovan fouled NYRBII’s Junior Flemmings just outside the 18-yard box. During the stoppage of play, Elfath was communicating with the VAR and at 34:40, he made a video signal and jogged to a designated area by the end line to review the play. In all of 24 seconds (clock reading at 35:04), Elfath without hesitation went to his front pocket to pull out the red card. Donovan was sent off for being the last defender when he fouled Flemmings. Orlando played the remainder of the match down a man. The VAR system would again be utilized late in the second half to determine a caution issued to Kyle McFadden for his challenge against Florian Valot; McFadden was issued a second yellow card in the 89th minute, which was not subject to a video review, as Orlando was then down to nine men at the close.
2. Without question, Junior Flemmings was the most active player in the attack Friday. He created a number of chances from start to finish, yet a goal eluded him for much of the match. That all changed in the 87th minute when he finally put one on frame and past Mark Ridgers. The 20-year-old Jamaican might not have had the numbers to show for his effort, but he kept visiting Orlando on its heels from the get-go, and created the foul that led to Donovan being sent off.
3. For a second straight game, New York posted a five-goal night. Off the heels of a 5-0 victory against the Harrisburg City Islanders, the Red Bulls II maintained that high-octane offense with a bevy of second-half scoring. That tally now gives NYRBII 44 goals on the season in 22 games to lead the USL. The LA Galaxy II are second with 43 goals in 21 games heading into the weekend.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:
Junior Flemmings, New York Red Bulls II – Flemmings scored in the closing minutes when the match was already decided, but he was clearly the most active player in the attack throughout the 90 minutes.
New York Red Bulls II vs. Louisville City FC – Aug. 19, 7 p.m. ET, Red Bull Arena
Orlando City B at Charlotte Independence – Aug. 17, 7 p.m. ET, Ramblewood Soccer Complex