MATCH RECAP: New York Red Bulls II Clinches Playoff Berth, Defeats Chicago Fire FC II 5-4 at MSU Soccer Park

rbII23_match-recap_16x9 13

MONTCLAIR, N.J. (August 28, 2023) - New York Red Bulls II (13-7-5, 47 pts.) earn all three points and clinch a playoff spot in a victory against Chicago Fire FC II (8-8-9, 37 pts.), 5-4, at MSU Soccer Park.

As the score line shows, there was action in just about every minute of this match. It took eight minutes for Red Bulls II to take the lead, as goalkeeper Will Meyer played a ball towards midfield that Frank Ssebufu headed over the Chicago defensive line. In his first match with New York Red Bulls II, Jorge Cabezas Hurtado received the pass on a breakaway, got around the keeper, and slotted it into the net.

Chicago fought back almost instantly, and six minutes later they grabbed their equalizer. Midfielder Alex Monis scored following a collision right outside the box, but that wouldn’t be all for his side in the half. The visitors took the lead five minutes later, as defender Omari Glasgow collected a through-ball on the far side of the field, made a run to the end line, and sent in a cross that was tapped in by forward Billy Hency to give Chicago their first lead.

In what would be the fourth goal of the match in only a 16 minute span, New York would manage to bring the two sides level yet again. Midfielder Wiki Carmona was able to get a shot off that left the ball loose in the box, where Ibrahim Kasule added to his season tally with his 14th goal of the season.

With four goals scored, the two sides went into the halftime break looking to keep up the pace of their attacking play.

It took just three minutes after the second half began for the score to change yet again, this time with New York reclaiming their lead. Defender O’Vonte Mullings played in a perfect cross and found a diving Frank Ssebufu, who headed the ball home for his 8th goal of the season.

To continue the theme of multiple goals in quick succession, Red Bulls II added to their lead less than one minute later. Right from kickoff, New York began to press the Chicago back line, when Frank Ssebufu managed to force a turnover and create a breakaway. The Ugandan found forward Wiki Carmona in the middle of the box to finish the ball into an open net and double their lead.

Chicago wouldn’t back down as they looked to make a comeback yet again in this game. Four minutes after Carmona’s goal, Fire II forward Luka Prpa sent the ball into the box on a set piece that was headed in by defender Andres Ueland to put his side within one.

To continue his incredible season so far and make club history, Ibrahim Kasule struck yet again. This time for his second consecutive match with a brace, Kasule tapped home a rebound to put him in a tie with Brandon Allen and Jared Stroud for the most goals in a season in club history with 15.

Chicago would grab a goal back to make things close in the 75th minute, but the Red Bulls II defense held and secured the victory at home. With the win, New York clinched a playoff berth in their inaugural season with MLS NEXT Pro. The win also marked the first time since 2019 that the club will participate in postseason play.

Red Bulls II scored five goals for the second time in its last three matches. The club has scored 14 goals during that stretch, marking the most over a three-match span since the 2020 season. New York’s two five-goal matches this season are also the most since 2020. New York has now won three-straight matches, marking its second streak of three-plus victories this season and the first time since 2019 in which the club has multiple winning streaks of three-plus.

New York Red Bulls II currently sit at 3rd in the Eastern Conference with three matches remaining in their schedule as the final push for playoff seeding is being made at the top of the table. 

New York will hit the road to face Toronto FC II on Friday, September 1. Kickoff at York Lions Stadium is scheduled for 7:00 P.M. ET. Coverage will be on MLS Season Pass with Apple TV, the New York Red Bulls app and