Florian Valot made his triumphant return after missing most of last season following knee surgery, setting up first-half goals by Kyle Duncan and Kaku, to help lead the New York Red Bulls to a season-opening 3-2 win over FC Cincinnati Sunday at Red Bull Arena.
The Red Bulls played on the front foot from the outset and had a deserved lead when Duncan chipped over onrushing FC Cincinnati goalkeeper Spencer Richey in the 16th minute. The sequence started with a sliding save by Danny Royer to keep the ball in along the touchline.
He passed to Valot, who turned and played Duncan into space and the right back took a touch and scored New York’s first goal of the season. Kaku then latched onto a Valot cross in the 27th minute and directed his left-footed finish inside the far post from 16 yards out.
FC Cincinnati pulled within a goal one minute after halftime. Brandon Vazquez ran onto a ball played over the top by Greg Garza and megged Amro Tarek with his cross into the box. Allan Cruz slid to connect with the pass and score Cincy’s first goal of the season.
Royer appeared to put the game away in the 70th minute, cutting inside 23 in the box before firing past Richey after his second touch. But Jurgen Locadia scored on the rebound of his own breakaway attempt in the 83rd minute, leading to a nervy final few minutes.