The Red Wolves went on the road to Fort Lauderdale Saturday night to increase their unbeaten streak to a record 14 matches, while also solidifying their standing at the top of the USL League One Standings. Rafa Mentzingen got the nod at striker from Manager Jimmy Obleda who looked to find a new dynamic in the final third. The side was heavily changed from the Toronto match which saw a forced heavy rotation due to international travel restrictions.
The first half saw the customary feeling out period that many viewers will be accustomed to, as both sides attempted to get into the game. A couple early chances came the way of Rafa up top, but Fort Lauderdale defended well to keep the Red Wolves from opening the scoring. Fort Lauderdale grew into the game well in the last 20 minutes of the first half, putting the owness on the Red Wolves to defend.
Tim Trilk made several solid stops for the Red Wolves in the first half to keep the score line even at 0-0. Obleda’s side received a hammer blow right on the stroke of halftime, with Rafa being forced off the pitch with an injury, replaced by midfielder Jimmie Villalobos causing a change of shape. Even so, it was a game that was statistically even in the first half with possession split 50/50 and both teams registering 5 shots. The Red Wolves would certainly feel aggrieved though, when what seemed to be a blatant penalty on Rafa went uncalled.
The second half started with a Red Wolves substitution, with Obleda bringing on Marky Hernandez in place of Jackson Dietrich. However, Fort Lauderdale started the second half strongly, creating several chances. In the 57th minute, Shaan Hundal had what was like the best opportunity of the first 60 minutes, but he somehow skied his effort from less than 2 yards out. In the 67th minute, after a lull in the match, Obleda once again turned to his bench, bringing on Juan Galindrez and Jonathan Esparza. The Red Wolves would feel the pain of missed opportunity in the 72nd minute, when Ricky Ruiz saw his shot saved, with the rebound landing at the feet of Marky Hernandez who skied his effort from close range.
Fort Lauderdale sought an instant reply in the 74th minute, but Hundal’s effort was saved well by Tim Trilk. In the 78th minute, the Red Wolves had another massive opportunity this time for Juan Galindrez, and he also skied his effort in what seemed to be a low gravity night in Fort Lauderdale. As both sides continued to create chances, Obleda would look to his bench one more time in Rey Ortiz, who would come on for Sebastian Capozucchi. The Red Wolves would get one last chance in the 92nd minute, but Ricky Ruiz would sky his effort in similar fashion to most of the chances created throughout the match. In the end the game would end level at 0-0, with the Red Wolves holding 52% possession and registering 15 shots at the Fort Lauderdale goal. The draw extends the Red Wolves’ unbeaten streak to 14 matches but sees them fall to second place in the league after a resounding Union Omaha win earlier in the night.
The Red Wolves play again on Wednesday, September 8th, at 7 PM EST when they welcome North Texas to CHI Memorial Stadium.