New York Red Bulls II defeated the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, 2-1, at MSU Soccer Park on Sunday night, concluding their regular season campaign with a win.
“We clinched playoffs last game,” forward Tom Barlow said. “But we came out with the mentality that we were not going to take this game lightly, especially going into the playoffs looking to get a little momentum and the boys did good.”
Barlow opened the scoring in the 30th minute after nicking the ball off of the defender and slotting a shot into the far-right corner for his eighth goal of the season.
Pittsburgh were denied an equalizer in the 71st minute when goalkeeper Scott Levene dove to his left to save a penalty kick. “I think once I made the save a little bit of energy flowed through us and we were able to get a goal towards the end,” Levene said. “But yeah, it was definitely a game-changing moment.”
NYRB II added another goal in the 90th minute from substitute Jared Stroud. Pittsburgh drew one back in the 94th, but New York successfully locked up the fifth seed in the playoffs with the win.
Levene spoke of the win against Pittsburgh served as a confidence booster for the squad ahead of the playoffs. “It gives us a real momentum swing now,” Levene said. “Three wins in a row and we are looking forward to the playoffs.”
Manager John Wolyniec said postgame: “You have to be really proud about how we finished up the season in a really good way and put a nice exclamation point on the [regular] season.”
New York Red Bulls II will travel to South Carolina to challenge the Charleston Battery, in a rematch of last year’s opening round, in the quarterfinals of the USL Cup playoffs on October 20.
“No time like the last three games to get some wins,” Wolyniec said. “Especially with two of them being on the road but obviously there’s a lot of hard work to be done and hopefully the momentum and the confidence that we’ve built over the last few weeks pays off with some wins.”