Florian Valot made his triumphant return after missing most of last season following knee surgery, setting up first-half goals by Kyle Duncan and Kaku, to help lead the New York Red Bulls to a season-opening 3-2 win over FC Cincinnati Sunday at Red Bull Arena.
The Red Bulls played on the front foot from the outset and had a deserved lead when Duncan chipped over onrushing FC Cincinnati goalkeeper Spencer Richey in the 16th minute. The sequence started with a sliding save by Danny Royer to keep the ball in along the touchline.
He passed to Valot, who turned and played Duncan into space and the right back took a touch and scored New York’s first goal of the season. Kaku then latched onto a Valot cross in the 27th minute and directed his left-footed finish inside the far post from 16 yards out.
FC Cincinnati pulled within a goal one minute after halftime. Brandon Vazquez ran onto a ball played over the top by Greg Garza and megged Amro Tarek with his cross into the box. Allan Cruz slid to connect with the pass and score Cincy’s first goal of the season.
Royer appeared to put the game away in the 70th minute, cutting inside 23 in the box before firing past Richey after his second touch. But Jurgen Locadia scored on the rebound of his own breakaway attempt in the 83rd minute, leading to a nervy final few minutes.
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- 16’ — RBNY — Kyle Duncan | WATCH
- 27’ — RBNY — Kaku | WATCH
- 46’ — CIN — Allan Cruz | WATCH
- 70’ — RBNY — Danny Royer | WATCH
- 83’ — CIN — Jurgen Locadia | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: It was closer than it should have been, but for a Red Bulls team that jettisoned star players in the offseason, it was an important confidence-booting three points. FC Cincy takes the L, but they’ll be encouraged by the fight and Jurgen Locadia scoring on his debut.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: That first goal was a combination of gritty determination and beauty.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Kyle Duncan had a goal and an assist, but it goes to Florian Valot with his two first-half assists that set the tone for the Red Bulls win.