The New York Red Bulls won a controversial season opener Thursday night against next door rivals, NYCFC. The lone goal in the 1-0 victory was scored by Red Bulls defender Kyle Duncan after a goalkeeping gaffe by Sean Johnson.
Despite controlling the larger amount of the possession between the two halves, NYCFC could not find their shooting groove and walked away with far less attempts on goal as their opponents. NYCFC’s best chance to find the back of the net came in the 31’. NYCFC striker Héber, with a couple crossovers, had Kyle Duncan completely off balanced and got a strong left footed shot away. Goalkeeper Ryan Meara matched the shot with a great kick save of his own to deny the goal.
The Red Bulls dominated the attempts on goal category, finishing the game with 7. This included a couple brilliant saves from NYCFC keeper Sean Johnson. Red Bulls Daniel Royer had New York’s best chance in the first half with a right footed effort in the 35’. After some careless ball handling in their own half, NYCFC had the ball stolen by the Red Bulls midfielder Jared Stroud. A perfect through-ball played Royer past the defense and he was able to get off a low, driving shot towards the bottom left corner of the goal. A quick diving save by Johnson kept the score 0-0 at halftime.
The game defining goal came in the 59’. After a poor headed clearance by NYCFC’s Alexander Callens from inside his own box, Duncan’s powerful right foot connected and sent the ball screaming directly at Sean Johnson. The ball struck Johnson right in the hands, who looked like he was caught between attempting to catch it and punch it out. The ball flew behind NYCFC’s keeper who dove to keep it out of net, which it looked like he did. However, after consulting with VAR and checking the replay himself, the referee awarded the goal to Duncan and the Red Bulls.
The Red Bulls walk away with a derby win and a clean sheet to start off the 2020 season. Next up, the boys in a red travel down the turnpike to visit the Philadelphia Union Tuesday night.
Edited by Nick Sbordone