Mandel Egbo celebrates his penalty kick. (Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY)
Much has been made about a defender, a right back at that, taking and converting a penalty kick for the Red Bulls in their 4-1 win over host Inter Miami CF Wednesday.
Mandelo Egbo wasn’t the first defender to attempt one and he certainly won’t be the last. He put home his chance to five New York an early one-goal lead.
“It fell on the right side of the pitch and I was closest to it,” Egbo said. “Fullbacks these days, they’ve got two jobs and they’re not just defenders, they’re attacking players, as well. The modern-day fullback is just as much an attacker as a defender. I like to attack, I like to score goals and I like to get assists and you know why not?”
With midfielder Daniel Royer not in the game at the time, Egbo decided to take it.
“We’ve got a few guys on the team that take a lot of penalties and a few guys on the team that can take penalties very, very well,” he said. “Danny wasn’t on the pitch at the time and I just thought I am going to take the ball and see if anybody takes it from me. They’ve seen me take a few in training and they were confident I would put it in. I was happy with the lads especially Matti [Jorgensen] for letting me have it and I’m happy it went in.”
And that was fine with interim head coach Bradley Carnell.
“I think psychologically that might have been a plus-point, but I don’t think it was up to a randomness of anyone taking it,” Carnell said. “Manny Egbo, who we’ve seen in training, he’s a good option for us. We have a couple of guys on the list who should take those and Manny felt really comfortable stepping up to the plate and he’s calm as a cucumber.”