HARRISON, N.J. (April 19, 2016) – New York Red Bulls II goalkeeper Rafael Diaz has been named to the week four USL Team of the Week for entering Sunday’s game as a substitute in the 12th minute, making five saves and earning a clean sheet.
Diaz, a native of Rockaway, N.J., entered the match for Ryan Meara and put in a strong 78-minute performance.
The goalkeeper made his first big save in the 26th minute. Rochester forward Steevan Dos Santos backheeled a pass in the six-yard-box towards goal and Diaz dropped down to his left to make the stop.
In the 57th minute, Rochester’s Kenardo Forbes created space to shoot from just inside the penalty area, sending a low shot towards the back post. Diaz saw the shot well, made the diving save and held onto it to prevent a rebound opportunity for the onrushing Rochester attackers.
Finally, Diaz made his biggest save of the game in the 84th minute. A Rochester cross connected with Forbes at the back post, who unleashed a right-footed volley on-goal. The Dominican goalkeeper positioned himself perfectly and blocked the shot, parrying it to defender Kevin O’Toole who cleared the ball from danger.
Diaz is the fourth consecutive NYRB II player to be named to the USL Team of the Week, which has included at least on Red Bulls II player in every edition this season. The 25-year-old was playing in his first game of the season, and seventh of his NYRB II career.
New York Red Bulls II is back in action on Friday, April 22, when they hit the road to take on Wilmington Hammerheads FC at 7 p.m. ET (WATCH: NewYorkRedBulls.com/Live). Red Bulls II returns to Red Bull Arena the following week on Sunday, May 1, to face Charlotte Independence at 5 p.m. (TICKETS)
USL Team of the Week
GK – Rafael Diaz, New York Red Bulls II: Diaz came off the bench in the 12th minute for his first action of the season, and recorded five saves as the Red Bulls II remained undefeated.
D – Lee Nishanian, LA Galaxy II: The center back put in a strong performance against San Antonio, marshalling his fellow defenders as the Galaxy II extended their undefeated start to five games.
D – Michael Nelson, Seattle Sounders FC 2: Nelson was impressive in his debut for S2, as the rookie helped the side record its first shutout of the season in a 1-0 win against Colorado Springs.
D – Bruno Perone, Wilmington Hammerheads FC: Perone was strong defensively, and distributed well out of the back, as the Hammerheads defeated Montreal 2-0.
M – Luke Rooney, Arizona United SC: Rooney was lively throughout, and provided the assist on Tyler Blackwood’s game-winner for United as it handed Real Monarchs SLC its first loss of the season.
M – Cardel Benbow, Harrisburg City Islanders: Benbow scored a fine goal to cap a strong all-around performance as the City Islanders took their first win of the season against Orlando.
M – Enzo Martinez, Charlotte Independence: Martinez was the key factor in Charlotte’s 3-2 win against the Charleston Battery, scoring the opening goal and dictating play throughout the midfield.
M – Didier Crettenand, Orange County Blues FC: Crettenand had the game-winning goal, and helped marshal the Blues’ attack as the side took its first win of the season against San Antonio.
F – Kharlton Belmar, Portland Timbers 2: Belmar scored the only goal, and was a threat throughout the contest as T2 earned its first win of the season against Sacramento.
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