Hammerheads unable to capture momentum in New York

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Wilmington Hammerheads FC was unable to find the back of the net for the first time in more than a month on Sunday afternoon as the Wilmington side fell 4-nil while New York Red Bull II used several players from their top level Major League Soccer club to earn three points within the United Soccer League.

The Hammerheads saw their unbeaten streak snapped at four, falling to 4-5-5 overall. Meanwhile, New York remained in search of top spot within the USL Eastern Conference Table, improving to 9-1-4 this season. Red Bull II (9-1-4, 31 points) sit four points behind first-place Louisville City FC (10-1-5, 53 points). The Wilmington Hammerheads (4-5-5, 17 points) trail the Richmond Kickers (5-5-5, 20 points) by three points for the eighth and final spot in the USL playoffs.

New York Red Bull II made easy work of Wilmington in the second half. Photo courtesy- New York Red Bull II
New York Red Bull II made easy work of Wilmington in the second half. Photo courtesy- New York Red Bull II

Four different players tallied for New York as Brandon Allen notched his fifth goal of the season in the opening half. Aaron Long, Stefano Bonomo and Junior Flemmings put things away after scoring in succession over a 10-minute span late in the second half.

Derrick Etienne Jr. has stepped up on a number of occasions during the 2016 season and his comfort and creativity were showcased Sunday with a back heel assist to Brandon Allen in the 20th minute to put New York on the board. Etienne’s dish split two Hammerheads players and Allen took a touch to his left to elude Wilmington goalkeeper John Smits for a 1-0 lead.

Etienne almost got on the score sheet as well in the 53rd minute, but Bruno Perone made a vital tackle at the edge of the six to prevent NYRBII from creating some distance.

Second-half sub and new signee Florian Valot made his presence known for Red Bull II with his first USL assist as the 23-year-old’s free kick from the right side in the 77th minute connected with Aaron Long, who headed home his second goal of the season from eight yards out to give the host side a two-goal cushion.

New York put the match well out of reach from then on, with Bonomo’s PK and Flemmings slotting his shot in from the right side on a difficult angle.

Hammerheads defender Tom Parratt picked up a second yellow card in the 90th minute and was subsequently sent off. New York posted its league-leading ninth shutout of the season as the club has the lowest number of goals conceded (8) within the USL ranks this year.

Wilmington Hammerheads return to the Port City for a date with Toronto FC II at 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 2 at Legion Stadium.