Onward: Plewa Lifts NYRB II Past Rhinos in PKs

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by ANTHONY J. MERCED

Harrison, N.J. – New York Red Bull II conquered their Rochester demon in dramatic fashion, defeating the Rhinos 5-4 in penalty kicks.

Even more dramatic was who scored the winner. Konrad Plewa, who suffered a stroke midseason, returned to send NYRB II to the USL Eastern Conference Final.

“It’s amazing,” said Plewa. “I’m just enjoying the moment right now. I still can’t believe how it went down and I’m really at a loss for words”

The small but vocal crowd at Red Bull Arena was equally at a loss for words as New York stormed back in extra time to tie the game on a Brandon Allen penalty kick past the 120th minute. Rochester had gone ahead on a Wal Fall goal in the 119th minute, silencing the crowd while putting NYRBII near the edge of another playoff loss.

“We knew it was a tough test,” said John Wolyniec. “The best thing about it was the effort and we just kept fighting, kept going. Even when things looked their darkest we were still pushing forward.”

The first half was one of the most action-packed 45 minutes these teams have played. New York went up with a great effort from Derrick Etienne in the 20th minute but Rochester answered back in less than 90 seconds when Steevan dos Santos fooled Ryan Meara off a quick restart. Brandon Allen would make sure New York went into the locker room with a lead burying the go-ahead goal just before halftime.

The second half was where Rochester imposed their physical style. They equalized less than ten minutes into the half when dos Santos provided a headed effort. From there, New York held on through some tough pressure, even dishing out some of their own punches with a fantastic effort by Stefano Bonomo late in the half. Still, it wasn’t enough to keep the game from going to extra time.

The extra time period was marked by tired legs and mental lapses in passing but neither team would budge. Wal Fall’s goal in the 119th minute seemed to spell the end for Red Bull II but Dan Metzger drew a penalty just before the death, sending the game to a shootout. New York went five for five in the exchange while two-goal scorer Steevan dos Santos put a ball over the net at a critical moment.

Konrad Plewa, who came off the bench in extratime, was in the key spot and cooly beat goalkeeper Tomas Gomez to send New York into the next round of the playoffs.

New York will have to wait to see who they play next Sunday night as the Eastern Conference Final will now be a part of a doubleheader following RBNY’s MLS regular season game against the Columbus Crew. They will play the winner of Louisville City FC and the Charleston Battery.


STARTING XI:

New York Red Bulls: Meara; Powder, Long, Carroll (‘120 Schmoll), Najem (110’ Plewa); Adams, Metzger, Bezecourt (‘110 Simpara); Etienne Jr., Valot (’77 Bonomo), Allen

Rochester Rhinos: Gomez; Kandem, Apostolopous, James (‘112 Kyriazis), Farrell; Guilavogui (’67 Totsch), Forbes (‘117 Gaousso), Fall, Tergou (’90 Samuels) (‘112 Samuel); Volesky, dos Santos

GOALS:

’20 (NYRB II) Derrick Etienne Jr. assisted by Vincent Bezecourt
’22 (Rochester) Steevan dos Santos assisted by Christian Volesky
’44 (NYRB II) Brandon Allen assisted by Florian Valot
’55 (Rochester) Steevan dos Santos assisted by Ryan Lee James
‘109 (Rochester) Wal Fall assisted by Kenardo Forbes
‘120 (NYRB II) Brandon Allen PK

DISCIPLINE:

’21 (Rochester) YELLOW CARD Joe Farrell
’40 (Rochester) YELLOW CARD Sofiane Tergou
’58 (NYRB II) YELLOW CARD Tyler Adams
’63 (NYRB II) YELLOW CARD Dan Metzger
’81 (NYRB II) YELLOW CARD Zach Carroll