by DAVE MARTINEZ
The New York Red Bulls kicked 2017 off with their first win in their first preseason match, besting the Portland Timbers 2-0 on Friday night at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson.
A sizzling Kemar Lawrence cross managed to find a Timbers’ defender in the 5 minute, taking a deflection to give New York the lead. Vincent Bezecourt rounds out the scoring with a PK shout in the second half.
“For us, we have to accelerate our process here because we have a very important game in about 26 days,” said Red Bulls Head Coach Jesse Marsch. “The emphasis was to come down here and play MLS competition immediately. I think, overall, a really good performance from us. We were very organized. We’re missing a bunch of guys, but we’ve got a really good club here, and a bunch of good, young players that we really like and think have bright futures…. On a night like tonight I think you saw a lot of them have good nights and [they] fit into the way we play so, overall, thought it was pretty good.”
Trialist Robbie Findley and Gonzalo Veron started the match up top, with Felipe, Sean Davis, Alex Muyl and Daniel Royer in the midfield, Lawrence, Aurelien Collin, draftee Ethan Kutler and RBII USL defender Aaron Long on the backline guarding Ryan Meara.
The match, which was split into three 30 minute periods, presented few chances for either side, but a fresh set of changes in the second period picked up the pace for the Red Bulls with several Homegrown and RBII players taking the field. Their pressure game led to a penalty shout for Vincent Bezecourt who left no doubt on his attempt.
Club stalwarts Sal Zizzo (illness) and Mike Grella (injury) were unavailable for the match. Grella’s injury is being described as a “knock in training.”
New York returns to the field on Tuesday, January 31 with a match against Real Salt Lake.
NY – (own goal) 5’
NY – Bezecourt (PK) 55’
New York Lineup: Ryan Meara (Rafael Diaz, 60’); Ethan Kutler (David Najem, 48’), Aurelien Collin (Jordan Scarlett, 30’, Tim Schmoll, 43’), Aaron Long (David Somma, 60’), Kemar Lawrence (Justin Bilyeu, 48’), Felipe (Tyler Adams, 30’, Zeiko Lewis, 70’), Sean Davis (Dan Metzger, 48’), Daniel Royer (Florian Valot, 30’), Alex Muyl (Vincent Bezecourt, 48’), Robbie Findley (Derrick Etienne, Jr. 30’, Arun Basuljevic, 70’), Gonzalo Veron (Brandon Allen, 48’)