NYRB II Begins USL Title Defense With a Win

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Red Bulls II logoAfter an up-and-down regular season that saw it finish in seventh place in the United Soccer League‘s Eastern Conference, NYRB II began defense of its league title with a resounding 4-0 win at the Charleston Battery on Saturday night.

New York will again head south for Saturday’s conference semifinal, against the Tampa Bay Rowdies, a team that is unbeaten in its last nine games after ousting FC Cincinnati, 3-0, on Saturday. The streak includes a 3-2 win over RBII on Oct. 4; the Baby Bulls were the last team to defeat the Rowdies, 4-2, at MSU Soccer Park on Sept. 2. The Rowdies, who left the North American Soccer League last year and jumped to the USL, are 12-1-4 at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Fla., this year.

“I feel like we’ve gained some confidence over the last few weeks,” RBII Coach John Wolyniec said. “We showed a lot of that tonight, we beat a good team on the road at their place where they have been good [Charleston took a 14-game unbeaten streak at MUSC Health Stadium into the match]. A lot of weapons on their side of the field. We scored great goals. Hopefully, our guys feel really confident going forward because I really think we can go far.”

The Baby Bulls got goals from Stefano Bonomo (39th minute), Ethan Kutler (51st), Florian Valot (71st) and the substitute Ben Mines (84th). Evan Louro recorded the shutout in goal.

Kutler, a striker in college at Colgate University who scored 33 goals in 73 games but now plays at left back, scored his first professional goal.

“Feels great to get the win and also my first professional goal in such a big game,” he said. “The first playoff win for me as well. There are a lot of rookies in the team so we had a good show from everybody tonight. Tampa is in form, but we’ve proven tonight that we can keep a clean sheet and score goals. We have been scoring a lot and our confidence is sky high.”