New York Red Bulls II have defeated Swope Park Rangers 5-1 for their first USL Cup championship. This was the first-ever lower division final contested by two MLS-owned teams.
Concern about attendance at Red Bull Arena and the interest level of a "reserve league" matchup were not heeded by the teams on the field, as both sides brought an intense and highly entertaining match to viewers on ESPNU.
Derrick Etienne Jr. opened the scoring in the 18th, taking a slot from Brandon Allen and deftly touching from left to right before curling a beauty to the far post. In the 39th, it was Allen's turn. One of the league's leading scorers during the regular season, Allen renewed his flair for poaching when a deflected ball in the box found him open just long enough to poke the ball beneath a diving Adrian Zendejas.
Defense certainly wins championships, but New York's offense seemed to serve both roles for them tonight, as Swope Park, bringing their own offensive prowess to New Jersey, were frequently attempting just to gain consistent possession.
A much testier second half saw Swope Park get on the board through a Tomas Granitto free kick, but it was all New York after that. Allen completed a hat trick, and Vincent Bezecourt put the cherry on top.
Check back with Indomitable City Soccer as we break down the match in the coming days.