Sean Johnson played well, but could not handle one key shot that turned into the lone goal.

By Michael Lewis
FrontRowSoccer.com Editor

An embarrassing mistake by one player brought great joy to another Thursday night.

New York City FC goalkeeper Sean Johnson made the howler of the MLS season, allowing Kyle Duncan’s shot to become the lone goal in the Red Bulls’ 1-0 victory in the latest chapter of the Hudson River Debry in Harrison, N.J.

Playing in front of an empty Red Bull Arena in the first game back for both teams since the MLS is Back tournament, the Red Bulls continued their supremacy over City in the rivalry. They extended their record to 8-5-2 in league play and 10-5-2 in all competition.

Johnson, who played a solid game for the first hour, produced a mistake barely a minute later that will make many a video and highlight reel.

Duncan powered a shot from outside the area that bounced off Johnson and headed for the net. Johnson then pounced on the ball with one hand, trying to make sure it did not go totally over the goal line. Red Bulls midfielder Daniel Royer kicked the ball into the goal while Johnson had possession, but that play did not count.

Referee Allen Chapman needed VAR to determine that the ball had barely traveled over the line and awarded the Red Bulls the goal and Johnson the goats’ horns in the match.

GOAL: Kyle Duncan, 59th minute

GOALLLL KYLE DUNCAN!! 🔴⚫️🔴RBNY 1-0 NYCFC

Posted by New York Red Bulls on Thursday, August 20, 2020

Video courtesy of the Red Bulls Facebook page

On the other end of the field, one-time Fordham University standout Ryan Meara, making his first start of the season, recorded the shutout.

Both teams needed points after sub-par 1-2 group-stage showings at the MLS is Back tournament in Orlando.

The playmakers of both teams were missing from their respective Starting XI. Kaku sat the bench for the Red Bulls on a coaches’ decision by head man Chris Armas while NYCFC’s Maxi Moralez did not start because of a calf injury the midfielder has not been able to shake since the tourney.

In a scoreless and evenly played opening half, both sides had their chances.

NYCFC had the first two chances as center back headed to Meara in the 10th minute and Heber powered an eight-yard attempt over the crossbar after a nice right-wing set up by Valentin Castellanos.

Then it was the Red Bulls’ turn. Mark Rzatkowski’s header across the penalty area was just behind midfielder-turned-forward Daniel Royer in the 19th minute.

After Meara saved from Heber on the left side in the 31st minute, Johsnon made a big-time save on Royer from close range five minutes later. In the 38th minute, Cristian Casseres, Jr. tried to volley the ball past Johnson but his shot sailed just wide right.

Casseres put one on target in the 54th minute, but Johnson denied him with a fabulous save.

Several minutes later, Johnson would rue the one that got away.