New York Red Bulls II sprang a massive upset in the USL Cup Playoffs on Saturday afternoon, thanks to a goal by a notable name from RBNY's past, present... and possibly future.
Riding a first-half counterattack goal from Amando Moreno, the Red Bulls' second team executed a textbook smash-and-grab 1-0 road victory over USL regular-season champions and 2019 MLS expansion arrivals FC Cincinnati in their Eastern Conference Semifinals clash at Nippert Stadium.
Defending doggedly and breaking out in transition with good effect, the visitors unsettled Cincy with their trademark high press and actually produced more shots on target (6 to 3) than the home side. Some clever game-management tactics in the final stages further disrupted FCC's rhythm and left Nippert's latest spirited crowd booing in frustration as their team's exceptional 2018 season ended prematurely.
Goalkeeper Evan Louro also made several key saves, the most impressive of which was a close-range reaction save to deny star FCC striker Fanendo Adi:
A product of the Red Bulls' prolific youth academy, Moreno signed an MLS Homegrown contract with RBNY at the age of 17 in December 2012, but declined a new contract offer a year later to join Liga MX side Club Tijuana.
He returned to New York last winter and with Saturday's impressive solo run and finish, has led RBNYII to the USL Eastern Conference Final, their third trip to that stage of the postseason in as many seasons. There they'll face either Bethlehem Steel, the Philadelphia Union's USL side, or Louisville City.