By Jeremy Reid

OCEANSIDE, Calif. (June 23, 2018)-The New York Red Bulls punched their ticket to the knockout round quarterfinals with a 0-0 draw against New York City FC in the final group stage game of the Development Academy U-16/17 Playoffs on Saturday afternoon at SoCal Sports Complex. The Red Bulls and NYC each finished Group G with seven points, but New York advanced on the strength of its plus-six goal differential over NYC's plus-four margin.

Neither team created many clear-cut opportunities in the opening 45 minutes, as both teams found themselves lacking the final ball.

New York's best chance of the first half came in the 14th minute. The Red Bulls earned a free kick on the corner of the box and Diogo Rebelo whipped in a dangerous cross, but it NYC goalkeeper Manny Smalio handled the danger.

NYCFC found an opportunity in the 26th minute when Joe Koroma collected the ball 20 yards from goal, made a quick turn and fired a shot on net, but Red Bulls 'keeper Matt Goodman collected it on the bounce. NYC's Filip Mirkovic had a half-chance in the 35th minute from 30 yards out, but his half-volley was held by Goodman as the game went into the intermission scoreless.

After the break, New York City FC upped the tempo as the Blues created a trio of chances inside the opening 10 minutes of the second half. Augustus McGiff played in Harrison Robledo, who drove toward the near post and fired just wide in the 50th. Two minutes later, Sal Razissi combined with Diego Rodriguez down the right wing before he played the final ball to Joe Suchecki. The midfielder's shot from 12 yards out was held by Goodman. Another two minutes later, McGiff fed Razissi, who cut inside a Red Bull defender towards the net. His shot forced Goodman into action, who parried the ball out-of-bounds for a corner.

NYCFC hit the woodwork in the 71st minute, but afterwards New York took control of the game. They earned a dangerous opportunity off of a corner in the 73rd. Chris Tiao took the kick and Scotty Taylor lurked all alone at the back post, but just as the ball came in a NYC defender put Taylor off just enough to force his header wide.

Not needing a goal to advance, the Red Bulls maintained the majority of the possession down the stretch in the final quarter-hour of the game, punching their ticket to the knockout round on Tuesday, June 26, with a still to be determined match-up.