by Andrew Garda
On a blistering day at Montclair State Soccer Park, the New York Red Bulls II dropped their first game ever to Louisville City Football Club by a score of 3-0. It was the first time Louisville City had beaten New York, who had defeated them in the playoffs last October in a shootout.
The loss also snapped New York’s two-game win streak.
Early on, the heat — which reached 95 in the stands and was far hotter on the field — seemed to sap both teams’ energy and strength. The Red Bulls managed a few chances early, but couldn’t get the ball in the net.
Louisville City struck first, with a goal by Kyle Smith in the 25th minute. Smith scored off a nice pass by Brian Ownby, slipping the ball past Red Bulls II goaltender Evan Louro.
Louro wasn’t supposed to get the start, but Rafael Diaz dislocated his finger and New York Red Bulls II Head Coach John Wolyniec said it wouldn’t have made any sense for him to play. The sudden change didn’t daunt Louro, who said after the game that any time you’re the backup, you have to prepare to go in the game.
To some extent, Louro didn’t get much help from the defense as the game wore on. Some defensive players, most notably David Najem, became visibly frustrated and appeared to stop pursuing on several plays. It became especially obvious as Louisville City added a second goal in the 55th minute of the game.
New York may have also been frustrated by Louisville City’s efforts to grind the clock out. Several times players were warned by officials to not slow the game down as they lingered tying a shoe or getting the ball when it went out of bounds.
Louisville City goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh really raised the ire of one official with his constant slowdown of play when setting up goal-kicks. Near the end of the game, Ranjitsingh was warned that if he continued to fiddle with the ball and didn’t kick it faster, he would get a yellow card.
Ranjitsingh’s goal-kicks were notably quicker after that.
New York would end considerably more frustrated after Louisville City sealed the game in the third minute of stoppage time when midfielder Richard Ballard scored.
Now, Wolyniec must make adjustments with a quick turnaround for a game against Bethlehem Steel Football Club at 7 p.m. on Friday, but he has to do it without knowing which players could be available.
“I mean, listen, it’s hard to have a plan in my position with the first team having Open Cup Wednesday and then having their own game Sunday,” Wolyniec said after the game. “What personnel I get for Friday is always in question. … I certainly have an idea, but we’re deep so I would expect some rotation.”
For Louro, dealing with the team’s issues is just a matter of getting back to work, regardless of when the next game is.
Louro said Wolyniec really challenges the team to “go back and do the film, do the stuff at the training ground, work with each other to try and help everyone get as good as they can be to fix those issues that we’ve been having.”