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Baby Red Bulls Roll Charlotte, Stay in First-Place

MONTCLAIR, N.J.- On an early autumn Friday evening at MSU Soccer Park, the New York Red Bulls II bounced back from a tough road loss in Indianapolis by defeating the Charlotte Independence 2-0.

The Baby Bulls’ midfielder Jared Stroud has been one of the team’s most consistent players all season. The 23-year-old has led the Baby Bulls with his technical ability and his vision all season long. Stroud’s 13 goals and nine assists this season both lead the team and are top ten in the United Soccer League (USL) Eastern Conference.

In the 13th minute, the Baby Bulls nearly got on the board. Midfielder Edgardo Rito delivered a low cross to Stroud, who unleashed a hard shot directly at Charlotte’s goalkeeper, who deflected the ball out of play.

Just one minute later, a Charlotte midfielder slipped and Chris Lema picked up the ball at midfield. Lema led a Baby Bull stampede into Charlotte territory and threaded a through ball into the feet of Mathias Jorgenson. Jorgenson made the goalkeeper move to his right and finished in the bottom left corner of the net for his ninth goal of his first season in a Red Bulls II uniform.

The visitors tried to get back into the game later in the first half. In the 27th minute, the visitors had their first quality chance when Colombian striker Jorge Herrera took a shot from just outside the eighteen that was saved by Red Bulls II keeper Evan Louro.

When the second half kicked off, the visitors started a rush into Red Bull territory. A Charlotte midfielder played a through ball to striker Jorge Herrerra. Louro rushed Herrerra, forcing him to shoot quickly and the ball went off Louro’s legs and out of play.

In the 83rd minute, Stroud dribbled past a few Charlotte defenders, before making a cut onto his right foot on the edge of the eighteen-yard-box. The Chester, New Jersey native then ripped a curling shot that flew into the upper right-corner of the net. The goalkeeper did not even have time to make a dive at Stroud’s highlight-reel goal.

In one of their last home games, the Baby Bulls showed off some of the individual skill and strong team play that has helped them stay in first place in the United Soccer League Championship (USL) since July 26 when they usurped Tampa Bay.

After the game, Baby Bulls’ leading overall point-getter Jared Stroud discussed how it felt to get his 20th goal – a team record—in a Baby Bulls’ uniform.

“It is a good milestone for me, and I am happy more about winning the game. Obviously, big for us being in first place. I do not think that we played our best game today, but at the end of the day good teams get results. I think we walk away pretty happy with the win, but definitely have to look in the mirror and see that we can do better in that game.”

This quote shows exactly why Jared Stroud is a leader on a first-place team. Despite the fact that Stroud has accomplished every personal milestone this year, Stroud is more focused on how his team played as a whole than what he achieves statistically.

Head coach John Wolyniec discussed his thoughts on his team’s important home win that helped keep them in first-place in the Eastern Conference standings.

 “As we get to the end of the season, playing on the road is something we have learned is important in the playoffs, and today we stepped towards that, but it wasn’t as big a step as I would have liked. At the end of the day, even when we are not firing on ally cylinders, to come away with a 2-0 win is a testament to what is possible with this group, so I hope they see it.”

The Baby Red Bulls next stop is in St. Louis, Missouri, where they will take on a Saint Louis FC team who will be looking to avenge a 2-0 defeat to the Baby Bulls at MSU Soccer Park.

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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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