Red Bull II had four reasons to celebrate goals vs. Hartford. (Photo courtesy of Red Bull II)
MONTCLAIR, N.J. — Four players found the back of the net in the second half to power Red Bull II to a 4-0 victory over Hartford Athletic in USL Championship action at MSU Park as the team recorded its best start to a season Wednesday night.
NYRBII (4-0-1, 13 points) surpassed the 2016 team’s 3-0-2 start.
Hartford fell to 0-7-0.
Asked what lessons were learned playing a winless team, Jake Stroud replied, “It’s hard because when you play when that team, I feel like there’s almost more pressure on us sometimes to beat them and then if they start to get you know ant they put some plays together they’re feeling good and they’re scrapping for that first one but at the same time, we all have a lot to play for in terms of first team contracts and in terms of winning the league so we have to, look at ourselves and say we have more to play for than them.”
Stroud, Tom Barlow, Derrick Etienne, Jr. and Chris Lema scored for the hosts.
It was Red Bull II’s first clean sheet of the season.
“Definitely going to take something from that game for sure,” head coach John Wolyniec said. “It’s something that we’ve kind of talked about the last few games. To get that out of the way is good. Hopefully we can continue in those ways because I think we’re good enough defensively to pull that off.
“I don’t know exactly what it was. Maybe a little lack of confidence. Maybe not as focused in the first half to make good passes and keep the ball sharp and moving well. Then, obviously, in the second half, to get an early goal, obviously helps with that. I think we just came out with a mentality after the halftime that we’ve done enough to put the game on our terms and then it’s just a matter of pulling off the right play. Luckily for us it happens early and kind of frees us up a little bit to get some confidence and play a little more freely.”
Stroud gave NYRBII all the scoring it needed in the 53rd minute before Barlow doubled the lead 11 minutes later.
“I just tried to calm myself down when the ball was there and Tom made a good run,” Stroud said about his goal. “It was a good play by Tom and then the ball kind of set up perfectly for me and it worked out nicely so I when I hit I felt like I knew is going in.”
Etienne, off Edgardo Rito’s first assist in a Red Bull II uniform, made it 3-0 in the 71st minute.
Lema closed out the onslaught with a goal in the 89th minute.
NYRB II will host Loudoun United FC on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Playing three games within a short period of time, Wolyniec indicated he would use a rotation for Saturday’s match.
“I would be surprised if it’s the same lineup as tonight,” he said. “Definitely some changes. We’ll see. Guys might have to do it again but we feel pretty good about the players we have in the first team, second team or even the academy. I was glad to get an academy player on the field and hopefully we see more of that as we go forward. We feel confident in a lot of guys. There will definitely be some changes.”