HARRISON, N.J. -- In a meeting Friday night between the United Soccer League's highest scoring clubs, Louisville City FC and the New York Red Bulls II, the only goal scored came by way of a successful penalty kick.
New York's leading striker, Brandon Allen, netted a 74th-minute shot to break a stalemate and clinch a USL playoff spot for his club. A 1-0 defeat at Red Bull Arena meanwhile dealt a blow to LouCity's championship hopes late in the regular season.
Controversy also found Louisville along the way.
The new video assistant referee system in use for the Red Bulls II's remaining home games this season determined a foul occurred in the penalty area, not outside the box where New York would have instead attempted a free kick. LouCity players believed they were due the same review when a ball appeared to deflect off a New York player in the opposite penalty box.
"Look, I don't want to say too much," said coach James O'Connor. "Whether it's a penalty -- he's looked at it, and maybe it is a penalty -- but equally, there are shouts for other things that don't get looked at."
After an otherwise scoreless contest, New York pulled ahead a full three points with two games in hand.
LouCity put four of its 12 shots on goal, as compared to the Red Bulls' three of 11 on a big night for the visitors' defense. Center defenders Paco Craig and Sean Reynolds deflected a number of other would-be attempts.
Midfielder Kadeem Dacres owned the right side of the pitch, tallying two shots. So did Cameron Lancaster and Chandler Hoffman, who placed a pair of headers on goal. Another of Hoffman's chances, in the 17th minute, found the back of the net. But the flag went up for offside.
"Maybe we're forcing it a little bit, but I think it just comes down to -- we have to own up, take leadership and take control of our own destiny," said team captain Aodhan Quinn. "We'll put the ball in the back of the net. It's just up to us."
A young New York team featuring 20-year-old forward Junior Flemmings continued showing solid form. Flemmings paced his club's attack with a pair of shots, while Allen, who now has a team-leading 11 goals on the season, attempted one other than his game-winner.
The victory was the Red Bulls' fourth win in six games, continuing a run that saw the Major League Soccer reserve side chase LouCity throughout its 17-game unbeaten streak. The guys in purple have cooled off since then, posting one win since July 23.
Match: New York Red Bulls II vs. Louisville City FC
Date: Aug. 19, 2016
Venue: Red Bull Arena
Kickoff: 7:06 p.m.
Weather: Partly cloudy, 85 degrees
Man of the Match: Kadeem Dacres
Louisville City FC (0, 0, 0)
New York Red Bulls II (0, 1, 1)
Louisville City FC: 13-Greg Ranjitsingh, 2-Ben Newnam, 18-Paco Craig, 15-Sean Reynolds, 24-Kyle Smith, 8-Guy Abend, 4-Aodhan Quinn, 7-Kadeem Dacres, 22-George Davis IV (65' 12-Mark-Anthony Kaye), 9-Cameron Lancaster, 17-Chandler Hoffman (83' 10-Magnus Rasmussen).
Subs not used: 28-Tim Dobrowolski, 36-Paolo DelPiccolo, 6-Tarek Morad, 77-Andrew Lubahn, 14-Ilija Ilic.
Head coach: James O’Connor
New York Red Bulls II: 18-Ryan Meara, 66-Noah Powder (75' 46-Kevin O'Toole), 39-Tim Schmoll, 17-Zach Carroll, 37-David Najem (67' 33-Aaron Long), 36-Dan Metzger, 80-Devon Williams, 47-Florian Valot, 7-Derrick Etienne (77' 88-Vincent Bezecourt), 21-Brandon Allen (88' 45-Zoumana Simpara), 77-Junior Flemmings (74' 70-Ben Mines).
Subs not used: 74-Rafael Diaz, 38-Kaz Shigenobu.
Head coach: John Wolyniec
Stats - New York / LouCity
Shots: 11 / 12
Saves: 4 / 2
Corner Kicks: 4 / 2
Fouls: 13 / 12
Offside: 2 / 4
Referee: Hilario Grajeda
Assistant Referee 1: Matthew Deblois
Assistant Referee 2: Miguel Lara
4th Official: Wojciech Gluszak