Gonzalo Veron
Ben Solomon

Gonzalo Veron Steps Up in the Clutch, Converting Penalty Kick

Gonzalo Veron continued his late-game heroics, quickly becoming a staple of the 2017 New York Red Bulls, on Friday night at Red Bull Arena.

The first sub off the bench for Jesse Marsch's Red Bulls, Veron wasn't on the pitch more than a handful of minutes before he was called upon to take New York's penalty kick, drawn off a hip check to Sacha Kljestan inside the box.

Veron stepped up and slammed a shot down the center of the goal, drawing his team even with New York City FC, 1-1.

“It was a beautiful moment. I enjoyed the responsibility, it was a big kick. Down a goal, it was a big responsibility – it led us to a point,” Veron said via a translator. “I think we showed that we were the better team for 90 minutes.”

It's Veron's seventh point in the last 10 matches.

The Red Bulls top goal scorer, Bradley Wright-Phillips, did not let Veron's impact go unnoticed.

"It was big of him," Wright-Phillips said. "We've needed him of late and he's come through. [He did it in] Cincinnati, started in Portland, made a great impact in that game. And then today he comes on, we need a goal, he steps up and takes the penalty. Can't ask more from a player coming off the bench."

Veron has played 384 minutes for New York this season, starting twice in MLS play, with two goals and three assists. He also helped spark the team's U.S. Open Cup semifinal comeback with the first goal as the Red Bulls rallied to a 3-2 victory in extra time to advance to the Final.

The "one-two punch" of Wright-Phillips at the start and Veron off the bench has been a consistent message for Marsch, according to captain Sacha Kljestan.

"Gonzi has become a big part, in the last few months, of what we’re doing," Kljestan said. "Jesse has talked about the “one-two punch” of Bradley starting things off and then Gonzalo coming in when defenses are tired and using his speed to open up the game. His calmness tonight to step up and bury the penalty was a big help for us."

Veron and the Red Bulls will hit the road for two games, in Dallas and Chicago, before returning home to Red Bull Arena to take on the Philadelphia Union on September 17.



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