Tom Barlow celebrates his first MLS goal with his teammates. (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)
HARRISON, N.J. — Tom Barlow could not have written a better script.
Eleven days after signing a Major League Soccer contract, 10 minutes after replacing Brian White in the second half, Barlow scored his first league goal to boost the Red Bulls to a 1-0 win over defending MLS Cup champion Atlanta United at Red Bull Arena Sunday.
“Dream come true,” Barlow said. “I couldn’t picture a better day. A perfect moment. Happy we got the win and happy I scored my first goal. So, it was awesome.”
Of course, scoring goals isn’t anything new to Barlow, who struck 18 times in 34 matches for Red Bull II. The confidence he had built up with the USL Championship has gone a long way.
“Yeah, definitely,” he said. “Scoring goals, your confidence starts to build. When I came up here, I just tried to keep doing the same thing and not change too much. The guys have helped me a ton and I’m just happy I was able help the team.”
Barlow helped the team big time in the 65th minute as he got on the end of a Daniel Royer cross. He changed direction and headed the ball past goalkeeper Brad Guzan to end Atlanta’s shutout streak at 521 minutes.
“I just remember it popping out wide and Danny making the run,” he said. “When I came on, coach told me to try to get in behind and I was lucky to get behind the center back. He played a perfect ball and I was able to get my head on it. So, it felt good.”
Barlow became the 13th Red Bulls player to score a goal in league play this season and one of several players up from the USL side that has made important contributions to the MLS team.
“It’s just amazing,” defender Amro Tarek said. “You can see the depth in our team. You can see the character of these players who are very young but don’t have any fear to play against Atlanta in front of this crowd. It’s just amazing.”