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Baby Red Bulls Earn 2-0 Victory over First-Place Tampa Bay Rowdies

The Baby Bulls defeated the first-place Tampa Bay Rowdies 2-0 Friday night at MSU Soccer Park. The Red Bulls II moved to within two points of first-place Tampa with the win. The Baby Bulls lost their last match against the Rowdies 2-0, so this win was sweet revenge.

The Baby Red Bulls would open the scoring in the 18th minute. Mathias Jorgenson intercepted a pass from a Rowdies defender to his goalkeeper, tipped the ball past the oncoming goalie and scored his seventh goal of the season.

The Baby Bulls goalkeeper Evan Louro kept the Rowdies from scoring on a couple of key chances in the first half. In the 32nd minute, Tampa Bay forward Sebastían Guenzatti took the ball away from defender Sean Nealis and was one-on-one with Louro. Louro jumped off his line, rushed Guenzatti and dove feet-first at the ball and blocked the shot. The rebound came out to a Rowdies player who then shot the ball over the net. The Baby Bulls narrowly avoided giving away the lead in the first half, thanks to some stellar goalkeeping from their captain.

In the 28th minute, the Baby Bulls’ keeper would be tested again and respond well. He made a timely save on a one-timer where the Rowdies player made good contact. The ball went skidding fast towards near post, but Louro was right there and grabbed the ball with two hands and preserved the Baby Bulls’ one-goal-lead.

In the 34th minute, Baby Bulls Defender John Tolkin threaded a great through pass to Jorgenson who shot the ball quickly—too quickly for the Rowdies keeper to react. The goal was Jorgenson’s second of the game and his eighth of the season and Tolkin’s third assist of the season.

Both teams generated offense in the first half, but Jorgenson’s instincts in the opposition’s half and a great passing play between Jorgenson and John Tolkin would be the difference on offense for the Baby Bulls in this game.

In the 49th the Baby Bulls earned a corner kick. The kick came into Sean Nealis who leapt up and headed the ball above the crossbar and out of play. In the 61st minute, Red Bulls II defender Kyle Duncan was shown his second yellow on a questionable play, where Duncan won the ball cleanly from an opposing player who then fell easily. The Baby Bulls were forced to play the rest of this crucial rivalry match with ten men.

In the last ten minutes of the match, the Rowdies had numerous chances including a free kick from left wing of the eighteen-yard-box. The shot went wide. Then, the Rowdies went to work on the left-wing, whipping in crosses. Rowdies midfielder Leo Fernandes delivered a cross that reached substitute forward Jaime Siaje who was there to poke the cross over the line but instead sailed it over the crossbar. That would be the Rowdies’ last best chance to score in this match, because the Red Bulls II stayed disciplined for the rest of the match.

The Red Bulls II pull to within two points of the conference leaders after Friday’s important victory. On, Evan Louro was the man of the match. Louro was recognized for making five saves and earning the shut-out against a first-place team.

Louro said this about the momentum one of his best save’s gave the team today.

“Yeah, hopefully in games I don’t really have to do anything, but I know that when I do, my teammates know that I have their back just like they have mine. If I mess up, I know that they’re going to cover me. So, all I have to do is cover them, but it’s definitely a good momentum boost for sure.”

After the game, the Baby Bulls’ Head Coach John Wolyniec talked about how his defense was able to respond after going own to ten men.

“You know, sometimes, when you lose a man, you go down, you can sit back and give up too much pressure. I think we found a good balance of keeping things in front of us, but at the same time getting out and stepping into the ball, especially the wide guys stuck to that. And that’s not easy to do.”

On his goal in the 18th minute, Mathias Jorgenson said “On the first goal it was a through pass from our teammates to try to get through. I was a little bit snitching it out and then yeah, happy to get the touch around the goalkeeper and put it in. so that was nice.”

The Baby Bulls next game is at home against Saint Louis FC on Aug. 2. Saint Louis and the Red Bulls II have not met yet this season.

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Anthony has been a sportswriter at In The Zone since Sept. 2019. He graduated from Montclair State, where he was assistant Editor of the student newspaper's sports section. He also co-hosts a sports-themed radio show on the campus station, WMSC 90.3 FM, which was recently named #1 college radio station in the nation.
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