Luke Rodgers logged an unlikely 83 minutes in his MLS debut last Saturday against the Columbus Crew.
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Rodgers powers Red Bulls Reserves past University of Virginia, 3-1

MONTCLAIR, NJ– New York Red Bulls forward Luke Rodgers helped the Red Bulls Reserves get their season off on the right foot Sunday, as he scored twice and paced the team in their 3-1 victory over the University of Virginia. The Red Bulls were in control of the game from the opening kickoff, dominating possession throughout.

The Red Bulls applied heavy pressure right from the start and in the fourth minute, forward Corey Hertzog was taken down in the box by Virginia defender Mike Volk, leading to a penalty kick. The Red Bulls first round selection in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft calmly stepped up and netted the penalty kick, putting the Red Bulls up 1-0.

Virginia nearly leveled the score in the 16th minute when defender Hunter Jumper crossed a ball into the box that forward Brian Ownby volleyed on frame, but Red Bulls goalkeeper Alex Horwath made a sprawling save to keep the Cavaliers off the board.

The Red Bulls had a chance to increase their lead in the 29th minute when Austin da Luz took a feed from Hertzog and blasted one towards goal but goalkeeper Calle Brown knocked it away. The Red Bulls did break through in the 34th minute when Virginia forward Will Bates committed a handball inside his own box, drawing a penalty kick for the Red Bulls. Rodgers took the kick and confidently buried the ball into the lower left side of the net, making it 2-0 in favor of New York.

The Cavaliers pulled one back in the 41st minute when midfielder Brian Span drove hard to the net and was taken down by defender Stephen Keel just outside the box, leading to a free kick. Jumper stepped forward and bent a left-footed shot into the upper right corner of the net, cutting the deficit to 2-1.

The Red Bulls were able to take advantage of a mistake by Virginia substitute goalkeeper Matt Miscione just before the half as Marcos Paullo’s crossing pass deflected off the keeper’s hands right to Rodgers, who tapped it in during the game’s 44th minute for a 3-1 advantage at the half.

In the second half, the Red Bulls showed their defensive prowess, foiling a number of Virginia opportunities, most notably by midfielder Felipe Libreros and forward Will Bates. In the 51st minute, Libreros had an opportunity at an open Red Bulls net, but shot it high. Bates took a feed from Libreros in the 66th minute but Keel managed a takeaway and cleared the ball without further danger.

The Red Bulls managed a scoring opportunity in the 79th minute when defender Teddy Schneider put one into the box, but Virginia defender Kevin McBride was there to clear the dangerous ball.

In the 88th minute, da Luz had his best chance to score as he blasted a shot from outside the box, but Cavalier goalkeeper Diego Restrepo was able to get a hand on it and made a diving save. Virginia had one final opportunity to draw closer in the 90th minute when Brian Span ripped a shot that Horwath denied. The rebound fell to the foot of Will Bates, who was not able to take advantage and shot it high.

New York Red Bulls 3, University of Virginia 1
April 3, 2011 – Montclair State University – Montclair, NJ

Scoring Summary:  
: Corey Hertzog 1 (penalty kick) 4’
NY: Luke Rodgers 1 (penalty kick) 34’
UVA: Hunter Jumper (free kick) 41’
NY: Luke Rodgers 2 (Marcos Paullo 1) 44’

Disciplinary Summary:  

New York Red Bulls – Alex Horwath (GK), Matt Kassel, Carlos Mendes (Bryan Gallego* 46’), Stephen Keel, Teddy Schneider, Marcos Paullo (Dan Metzger* 46’), John Rooney, Tyler Lassiter, Austin da Luz, Luke Rodgers, Corey Hertzog (Brandon Allen* 69’)

University of Virginia –
Calle Brown (GK) (Matt Miscione 33’) (Diego Restrepo 63’), Mike Volk, Greg Monaco, Kevin McBride, Hunter Jumper, Ari Dimas (Marcus Douglas 81’), Felipe Libreros, Brian Span, Shane Cooke (Sean Hiller 75’), Brian Ownby (Akheel Rodney 72’), Will Bates

*-Guest Player