Serve up the ball to Georgetown freshman forward Brandon Allen anywhere near the goal and there’s a good chance the former New York Red Bulls U-17/18 Academy player is going to put it on frame.
“When he squares up to goal and he’s got any kind of space, he’s hitting it and it’s usually a goal or it’s a great save or it’s hitting the post,” said Georgetown head coach Brian Wiese, who first saw Allen play in 2010 when the Red Bulls squared off against the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team in a friendly at Red Bull Arena. “If he misses, he doesn’t miss by much. He’s got that goal-scoring knack.”
That ability to find the best position in front of goal has been evident in Allen’s play for quite some time. Likely a mix of instinct and coaching, according to Wiese, Allen displayed his scoring ability through four years in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy while playing first with New Jersey-based PDA U-15/16 for two seasons before heading to the New York Red Bulls U-17/18 squad. In more than 100 Academy matches beginning in the 2008-09 season, Allen netted a goal nearly as many times, including 25 or more in each of his final three seasons.
Making the jump to the college game didn’t alter his rhythm as the former U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team player led the Hoyas in scoring as a freshman with 11 goals and two assists (24 points) through the regular season. He also became the first Georgetown player to score 11 goals in regular season play since 2001.
“I’ve just been trying to get along with all the guys and use their skills to try and put it into my own game and that’s how I’ve been able to get into a rhythm and score goals,” Allen said.
Allen mentioned that prior to joining Georgetown, he benefited from a good amount of consistent training with the Red Bulls, as well as the longer, 10-month Academy season.
“At Georgetown, we’re training every day, so it was definitely a big help to train 3-4 days a week with the Red Bulls Academy,” Allen said. “It helped prepare me, so I’m trying to get better every day. The Academy season is also a lot longer than the college season, so it made me more fit and now I feel like I have so much energy on the field and that helps make everyone around me better too.”
Last weekend, Allen added to his already impressive first season résumé when he netted the game-winning goal, his 12th overall goal, in Georgetown’s BIG EAST Conference tournament First Round match against St. John’s on Nov. 3. The winner was his conference-leading eighth game-winning goal of the year.
“The standard of the Academy system and the defenders he’s playing against on a week-in, week-out basis along with the training environment that the Red Bulls provided made him ready to go from the first day,” Wiese said. “It took two or three days in preseason for the rest of the team to say, ‘He’s got to play.’”
The Hoyas, ranked No. 4 nationally in the latest NSCAA poll, head to PPL Park in Chester, Pa., for a nationally-televised BIG EAST Conference Semifinal matchup against No. 10 Marquette at 5 p.m. ET on Friday, Nov. 9. The venue, which originally was slated to be Allen’s beloved Red Bull Arena before it was changed due to weather concerns, provides yet another opportunity for the Old Bridge, N.J., native to display his incredible knack for scoring big-time goals.
Of his 12 goals so far this campaign, nine have come in the second half of matches, while four lit up the scoreboard after the 80th minute.
“He’s relentless,” Wiese said. “When the game is in the fire and it starts getting closer and closer to the end, he’s scored a lot of goals that were late. When you’re in a position where a lot of guys would be panicking [with the ball in front of goal], Brandon just gets more and more eager to get the ball at his feet.”