New York Red Bulls 2 Claim USL Cup With 5-1 Win in Final

The New York Red Bulls 2 took home the 2016 USL Cup. Branden Allen led the way with 3 goals for NYRB2.

New York Red Bulls II were victorious in impressive fashion as they took home the 2016 USL Cup with a 5-1 victory over the Swope Park Rangers. The Red Bulls were led by Branden Allen with 3 goals and a assist.

The Baby Bulls were the favorite coming into the playoffs claiming the best record and led the USL in goals scored. The playoffs haven’t gone as smoothly for New York needing PK’s vs. Rochester & Louisville City before booking their spot in the finals.

Swope Park finished 4th in the Western Conference in the regular season and had to overcome tough odds to get a spot in the final. During their Conference Semifinal match, they went down to 9 men in extra time before Dane Kelly scored to claim a 2-1 victory over the Orange County Blues. In the Conference Final the Rangers recorded a decisive 3-0 victory against the Vancouver Whitecaps 2.

Cincinnati had a local connection to the match in former UC Midfielder Emmanuel Appiah. Appiah has started for Swope Park since being loaned this summer by their parent club, Sporting KC.

The home side got off to a hot start and controlled the run of play early in the 1st half. After several close chances “Haitian Messi” Derrick Etienne Jr finally put the Baby Bulls on the board in the 18th minute after collecting a pass from USL First Team Forward Brandon Allen at the top of the box. Etienne Jr. calmly placed the ball on his right foot and curled the shot just inside the right post past the outstretched Swope GK Adrian Zendejas.

New York continued to pressure Swope Park and forced Zendejas to come up big parring away a pair of point blank shots in the 25th and 29th minutes.

The Baby Bulls netted their 2nd goal when Etienne Jr. got into a dangerous position once again on the right wing. His cross was bungled by the Swope Park defenders and found Allen alone with the keeper in front of goal. His shot went past the helpless Zendejas and sent New York to halftime on top 2-0.

Swope Park came out looking more of the dangerous side after halftime. In the 55th minute Portuguese midfielder Ayrton Pinheiro Victor flashed a shot just wide of the net.

After a 70th minute yellow card issued to New York’s Dan Metzger, Swope Park got on the board when Tomas Granitto’s free kick bounced dangerously in the box and past NYRBII keeper Ryan Meara to make the score 2-1.

It was not to be for Swope Park after Branden Allen cemented his claim on 2016 USL Cup MVP with a goal in the 84th minute. The ball seemed to ping pong around the box until it found the feet of Allen before depositing the ball inside the left post.

New York wasn’t done as Allen put his final touch on his hat trick in the 87th minute and Vincent Bezecourt added the final nail with a 92nd minute goal.

In the end the better team won the cup. It’s hard to argue that there was a more worthy champion than New York this season and they staked their claim Sunday night. Congrats to Coach John Wolyniec and the Red Bulls organization on the title.

USL Expansion Update

USL President Jake Edwards was interviewed at half time and confirmed that they will add 2 teams in 2017 in addition to Reno. The announcements will come next week but it has been strongly rumored that the teams will be the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Ottawa Fury. Both teams currently reside in the NASL.

FC Cincinnati Collects Honors from ESPN

FC Cincinnati collected the top 2 spots on ESPN’s Top-10 best moments from the USL season. The record attendance took home the 2nd spot while Sean Okoli’s scissor kick claimed the top spot.

Check out more off-season changes and coverage on our 2016 Off-Season Player Moves page.

@bradleysweigel for @cincysoccertalk

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