HARRISON, N.J. - New York Red Bulls II's Brandon Allen tallied three goals and an assist as the Red Bulls II defeated the Swope Park Rangers 5-1 on Sunday in the 2016 USL Cup Final, Presented by Nike, at Red Bull Arena. NYRBII became the first MLS-owned-and-operated USL team to win the USL Cup Final. Allen was named the championship MVP for factoring in four of the five goals. He is a finalist for 2016 USL MVP after a 15-goal regular season, and Allen led all USL players with six goals during the postseason.
"It's been a hard fought year, all season," Allen told ESPNU sideline reporter Heather Mitts following the match. "To come away with today's win is such a relief, and to hold the trophy at the end is an amazing feeling."
NYRBII had a strong attacking presence in the opening 45 minutes, with Allen involved in both tallies. Allen set up Derrick Etienne Jr. in the 18th minute, with Etienne carving a right-footed shot just inside the right post from 19 yards out to take a 1-0 lead.
Allen then found himself on the end of a David Najem cross that was slightly deflected by Swope Park's defense and Allen slotted it home for a 2-0 cushion in the 39th minute.
Swope Park midfielder Tomas Granitto brought the visiting side within one goal with a free kick tally in the 74th minute that eluded everyone in the box and found its way inside the right post to cut it to a 2-1 Red Bulls II lead.
That momentum was halted 11 minutes later as Allen notched his second of the match with an 85th-minute rebound. NYRBII pressured heavily in the buildup, with second-half substitute Stefano Bonomo with a couple spin moves to break down the SPR defense. Then in the second minute of second-half stoppage time, Vincent Bezecourt capped off the scoring with a goal off of an Etienne cross to push the lead to four goals.
NYRBII wraps up 2016 with an impressive 14-game unbeaten streak (13-0-1) dating back to early August. Following a record-breaking regular season that featured a single-season mark of 61 goals, the Red Bulls II opened the USL Cup Playoffs with a commanding 4-0 victory against Orlando City B, followed by shootout wins against the defending USL champion Rochester Rhinos and second-seeded Louisville City FC in the Eastern Conference Final.
Swope Park's inaugural season was a strong one, heading into the USL Cup Final with a seven-game winning streak spanning both the end of the regular season and postseason. The Western Conference Champion had conceded only one goal in its three previous playoff games, with victories against 2015 runners-up the LA Galaxy II, a thrilling overtime victory against Orange County Blues FC while playing with only nine men and then a 3-0 win against Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 in the conference final.
2016 USL CUP FINAL: NEW YORK RED BULLS II 5, SWOPE PARK RANGERS 1
18' - NY - Derrick Etienne Jr. (Brandon Allen)
39' - NY - Brandon Allen (David Najem)
74' - SPR - Tomas Granitto
85' - NY - Brandon Allen
88' - NY - Brandon Allen (Stefano Bonomo)
90'+2 - NY - Vincent Bezecourt (Derrick Etienne Jr.)
NY: 18-Ryan Meara; 46-Kevin O'Toole (41-Konrad Plewa, 66'), 33-Aaron Long, 17-Zach Carroll, 37-David Najem; 36-Dan Metzger, 4-Tyler Adams, 88-Vincent Bezecourt; 7-Derrick Etienne Jr. (70-Benjamin Mines, 90+'), 21-Brandon Allen (39-Tim Schmoll, 89'), 47-Florian Valot (29-Stefano Bonomo, 81')
SPR: 95-Adrian Zendejas; 24-Ever Alvarado, 81-Oumar Ballo, 55-Amer Didic, 90-Johnny Grant (38-Akeil Barrett); 32-Christian Duke (92-Alex Molano, 89'), 23-Emmanuel Appiah (44-Tomas Granitto, 46'), 45-Ayrton (47-Mark Anthony Gonzalez, 61'); 77-Tyler Pasher, 99-Dane Kelly, 50-Kris Tyrpak