First Team Continues Homestand vs. Red Bulls

BROOKLYN, NY – The club’s first team (1-1-4, 7 points) continues their four-game home-stand tomorrow evening, Saturday June 8, for an 8:30 p.m. kickoff as they welcome the New York Red Bulls U23 squad (2-3-0, 6 points) to Poly Prep Country Day School. The first team has drawn four times in their previous five games with the exception of one loss to Reading. The most recent match featured a second-consecutive rain shortened outing vs. the Long Island Rough Riders in Brooklyn (74’ 2-2) The Red Bulls have started slower than usual, as they have matched their loss total from 2018 through just five games so far in 2019. They were stunned by the Rough Riders on Saturday evening at Hofstra with an 87’ minute opposition goal to hand them their third loss of the short season. Each club is one win away from a top-three position in the Mid-Atlantic division.


The first team trails the overall series 0-6-0 against the Red Bulls U23 squad, dating back to the 2017 season. Looking back to the most recent contest against the two clubs, a 7-0 loss took place from Aviators Sports and Events Center on June 25, 2018. USL League Two Top 100 Players to Watch selection, Brian Saramago would put home the first two goals of the contest within the first eight minutes of action. Followed by a pair more from Fernandez and Kouma. In the second half of the contest, three more goals were scored by Kouma, Zajec, and Ryan. The seven goals scored were put home within 75 minutes of play. The Red Bulls currently are outscoring the first team 23-3 in the last five meetings dating back to 2017 at Belson Stadium.


Following a statement season-opening victory against the Evergreen Hammers by a score of 6-0, the New York Red Bulls U23 squad fell back to Earth, and fell in three consecutive contests against the Cedar Stars Rush, Long Island Rough Riders, and Reading United AC. Being led by a group of returning veterans along with a new cast, the Red Bulls are simply a different squad this season. On the list of “USL Top 50 Prospects” include defender Carlo Ritaccio (#3 on list/University of Akron), forward William Herve (#6 on list/University of Maryland), forward Brian Saramago (#19 on list/Loyola Maryland), and the academy’s own midfielder John Tolkin (#47 on list/Red Bulls Academy). Amidst the changes include draftees in the 2019 MLS Superdraft, goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair, Janos Loebe and Rashid Nuhu. All of which, have done damage against the first team in their tenures with the U23 academy team. Regaining their momentum heading into Brooklyn, the Red Bulls took down the Lehigh Valley United in Allentown by a score of 2-1on Wednesday evening. Jonathan Filipe, and Brian Saramago scored the pair of goals to obtain the trio of points to get their squad back in the win column.


Defender Kalley Muntaha remains week-to-week with a hamstring injury. He injured the lower-body against the Ocean City Nor’easters on May 18 in Brooklyn. Goalkeeper Babucarr Ceesay left the Lehigh Valley contest on June 1 with a lower-body injury. The Bryant and Stratton goalkeeper did not start in the back-to-back the following day, and was subbed in for Andrew Pereira. Ceesay’s status is unknown, and will be reevaluated at practice prior to the game on Saturday. Midfielder Thriston Briscoe is still out with an ankle injury that was suffered on May 25 at Reading United AC. Goalkeeper Jason Belfon also remains out with an injury he sustained during the aforementioned Reading United contest on Memorial Day weekend.


The opening minutes of the rescheduled match seemed to prove fatigue for each respective club as possession remained idle in each respective zone for the first 10 minutes of action. The 12’ minute proved to be a wake-up call for the first team, as Alexander Dexter slid one home past goalkeeper Andrew Pereira. The first assist would come from the cleats of Renato Kazlauric. Putting their faces into sand, and giving up was not on the minds of the first team, as forward DeAndre Gordon came across the right