Baby Bulls play Detroit City FC to draw in 2022 home finale

Wednesday night's match between the New York Red Bulls II and Detroit City FC was about firsts and lasts. It was about firsts for Detroit, who were playing for their first time on the campus of Montclair State University at MSU Soccer Park. It was also about lasts because this was the last game that the Baby Bulls would play at their home field this season.

The first half was very close, and the Red Bulls II had a chance to go ahead in the tenth minute. Wikelman Carmona sent a through ball down the right side of the field for Jordan Adebayo-Smith who dribbled it into Detroit's box. He had a clear shot at goal and shot it just wide of the left post.

Detroit City came with the same high level of energy that Red Bulls did. Detroit had a flurry of scoring chances at the end of the first half but could not convert. Giannis Nikopolidis and the Red Bulls backline did a good job of stopping Detroit's chances from materializing in the first half.

In the 38th minute, Detroit City got out on the counterattack and one of their wingers centered a pass for their striker on the edge of the box. After struggling to settle the ball, the striker shot the ball over the bar in what was the first real scoring chance for the visiting team. Detroit created another dangerous opportunity not long after, when a Detroit player sent a cross that was ticketed for the penalty spot but cleared away by a great sliding tackle by Red Bulls II defender, Yostin Salinas.

Second Half Swan Song

In the 51st minute, Detroit City striker, Antoine Hoppenot dribbled into the Red Bull box from the right wing and was able to flick the ball in the air over a Red Bulls defender. Hoppenot was in heavy traffic and could only manage to take a weak, left-footed shot that rolled wide of the goal.

In the 61st minute, Detroit City sent another dangerous cross into the Red Bulls box and this time it was headed on goal, where Nikopolidis was able to grab it. After a difficult hour of playing, the Baby Bulls made substitutions. Erick Ruiz replaced Henry Wise, who was making his debut, and left-back Arian Recinos was replaced by Curtis Ofori.

Detroit City FC had the run of play for most of the second half, when they earned three corner kicks from the 75th to 85th minute. However, in the 87th minute, the Red Bulls had their best scoring chance of the match. A long through-ball was played ahead to Adebayo-Smith who dribbled through Detroit's defensive half and to the edge of their box. Once the Red Bull striker reached the box, Detroit City's goalkeeper rushed out and when Smith took a big touch, the ball was grabbed by the keeper.

In the final minute of stoppage time, a free kick was awarded to Detroit City. However, the kick never threatened the Red Bulls II's goal because it hit the wall and with that, the referee signaled that the match had ended in a scoreless draw.

Postgame Thoughts from Red Bulls II Coach

Although this game lacked any goal-scoring, it was still a competitive and entertaining game. Add to that the fact that this was the Baby Bulls' last dance at MSU Soccer Park of the season and the match takes on more meaning. It's also important to recognize the Red Bulls II supporter's group, "The Rampage" who were allowed to enter the field and take a picture in front of the goal that was nearest the bleachers they cheered from all season long.

While it was unfortunate the Red Bulls II were unable to win their last home game of the season, interim head coach Ibrahim Sekagya spoke about the positives they can takeaway from this game.

First thing is the players are sad about it being 0-0. What we can take from these games is that we faced a team that is a playoff side, so they’re not a bad team. We can take away that we got a clean sheet, in our world that is so important with our team, we talk about it all the time. Now we just have three finals left, we know that it’s going to be the games like this, they give you a little bit of push now. We know that before the next game, the guys are going to get a little bit of rest, and then we prepare for the next game.

Sekagya also described how Henry Wise played as a defensive midfielder during his USL Championship debut on Wednesday against Detroit City FC.

Henry had his 70 minutes, the first game to play with us. There were a lot of good things with him in his first game and you can see there were positives that he had today with our midfield. We put him where we felt like his fitness wasn’t on the top because he hasn’t played a lot of games, but I think his first game was good.

The Red Bulls II will have a little more than a week off before taking on Phoenix Rising FC on Oct. 1 in Arizona. That game can be streamed live on ESPN+ at 10:30 PM.

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Anthony graduated from Montclair State University, where he covered a variety of sports for three years. He co-hosts a sports-themed radio show on campus radio station, WMSC 90.3 FM, which was recently named #1 college radio station in the nation.