Brandon Allen, above playing against Portland in the preseason, was spot on from the penalty spot Saturday night. (Casey Sapio/USA TODAY Sports)
MONTCLAIR, N.J. – Striker Brandon Allen converted penalty kicks in each half to spark the Red Bulls II to a 3-1 United Soccer League victory over the Harrisburg City Islanders at MSU Soccer Park Saturday night.
Douglas Martinez tallied the third NYRBII goal as the hosts remained unbeaten at MSU Soccer Park (3-0-0). They lost to Harrisburg at Red Bull Arena last month.
“We are getting results at home,” Red Bulls II head coach John Wolyniec said. “I would’ve liked our performance in the first half to have been a little bit better but it was good to see a good response in the second half, it is nice to be able to get the third goal to separate ourselves in the game. Still a work in progress though.
“Obviously, first half we didn’t come out and I think we didn’t play our best soccer but overall in the second half I think we turned it around,” he said. “John told us we need to counter press more and I thought second half we did that and we were able to find two goals. ”
Opportunity presented itself early as NYRB II goalkeeper Evan Louro was forced to come off his line with a diving header clearance in the sixth minute on a Harrisburg long ball.
In the 26th minute, Allen drew a penalty kick after a collision with the Islanders goalkeeper in the box. Allen buried his third goal of the season.
Harrisburg’s Aaron Wheeler equalized just before halftime off a corner kick heading home his effort past a diving Louro.
Coming out of halftime, Red Bulls II better established possession and chances created in the second half.
New York’s persistence culminated in the 57th minute as Zeiko Lewis this time earned a penalty kick being tripped up in the box.
Allen converted with a shot down the middle to put NYRB II up, 2-1.
Asked about his penalty-kick conversions, Allen replied, “First it comes with my teammates helping me draw the penalty kicks. Them having the confidence in me to take them, it was very important and I think when I step up to the spot I’m just very calm and you know, my confidence is very important.”
Newly signed forward Douglas Martinez made his Red Bulls II debut in the 75th minute and didn’t waste any time scoring four minutes into the game off a low cross in from Justin Bilyeu.
NYRB II face a quick turnaround as they hit the road for a Thursday night match at the Charlotte Independence.
New York: Allen 26′ 57′, Martinez 79′
Harrisburg: Wheeler 39′
New York: Bilyeu (50th minute, yellow card)
Harrisburg: Noble (25th minute, yellow card)
New York: Louro; Najem (68th minute, Tim Schmoll), Abidor, Bilyeu, O’Toole; Basuljevic, Metzger; Valot, Bezecourt, Lewis (87th minute, Andrew Tinari); Allen (75th minute, Douglas Martinez)
Harrisburg: Noble; McLaws, Calvano, Nishanian, Thomas; Olabiyi, Dabo; Benbow (72nd minute, Mike Olla), Wilson (87th minute, Ropapa Mensah), Mendoza (78th minute, Manolo Sanchez); Wheeler