Red Bulls II Clinch Playoffs, Take Commanding League Lead

Red Bull II, the New York Red Bulls’ USL affiliate, defeated Louisville City 1-0 on Friday night. The matchup pitted the league leaders in points in what was billed as the premier USL matchup of the season. Through a deliberate and unaggressive match, and a few controversies, John Wolynak’s crew did what successful teams need to, they found a way to win.

The winner came on a penalty kick from Brandon Allen in the 71st minute. The kick was awarded after Junior Flemmings was taken down in the box by a defender. With both teams arguing over the location of the foul, referee Hilario Grajeda elected to use video replay. In the second ever use of Video Assistant Referees (VAR) in American soccer history, the Red Bulls benefited yet again as it was determined the foul took place just inside the penalty area.

Red Bulls fans may recognize the referee Grajeda from last weekend’s draw with the Los Angeles Galaxy. In that match, Grajeda made numerous questionable decisions leading the Professional Referees Organization to to take the extraordinary step of admitting the Red Bulls’ deserved two uncalled penalty kicks. On Friday night, Grajeda was, once again, in the center of attention.

After utilizing VAR to award NYRB II a penalty kick, Grajeda seemed to miss a Zach Carroll handball inside the box in the final minutes of the match. Louisville City players and coaches protested loudly to the refs. The lack of a call denied the visitors a penalty kick of their own, and handed NYRB II the commanding lead for first place.

The victory gave Red Bulls II a three point lead over Louisville City with two games in hand. They return to action next weekend when they host FC Cincinnati.