Preview: NYRBII Look to Shake Goal Drought Against Stingy Rhinos

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by ANTHONY J. MERCED
USL Beat Writer

The Rochester Rhinos welcome New York Red Bull II as their first home game of the 2015 season, kicking off their twenty year celebration.

The team is riding high after the first five weeks of the season as they remain undefeated while New York is looking to get back on track after their second home loss of the year to Richmond on Wednesday.

The team performed admirably against a tough Charleston team a week ago and hopes to get back on track with a team system that so far has not produced the same results as the MLS mothership.


Projected XI

New York Red Bull II (4-2-3-1): Castano, McLaws, Jean-Baptiste, Da Fonte, Heffron, Metzger, Stolz, Etienne, Sanchest, Tsonis, Obekop

Rochester Rhinos (4-4-2): Miller, Dixon, Totsch, Apostolopoulus, Volesky, Rolfe, Mendoza, Garzi, McMahon, Van de Casteele, Walls

Last Encounter: 0-0 draw at Red Bull Arena on March 28th.


NYRB II Need Goals but Rochester is Notoriously Stingy

New York has not been productive in the goal scoring department in 2015. In fact, only four teams in the league are worse than them in that category. Luckily the team has been very sound defensively, only giving up multiple goals in one match this season. A solid defense firmed up by Leo Stolz in the holding midfield position has produced positive results in the backfield, but up front has been where the team has faltered this season. Without Anatole Abang, occasional MLS bench loanee, the team has been unable to find the back of the net.

Today’s game will be a challenge as Abang will more than likely be with the MLS side as they play the LA Galaxy in Harrison. Other notable loan players like Connor Lade will also not be available with the team looking similar to what they did when they played Rochester the first time this year. While not a terrible proposition, that game finished scoreless with New York having opportunities but being unable to convert. Rochester is currently one of the stingiest teams in the league, remaining undefeated and having only surrendered two goals all season.

Leo Stolz is the Key to Team Success

It was hard not to get excited about 24-year-old Leo Stolz when it was first announced he would be on this USL team. That excitement is still there as he as performed well but not produced the exact way many people expected. At first, it seemed he would play a more attacking midfield role; the kind that saw him score 20 goals in three seasons with UCLA. However, he has been more of a holding midfield player, providing service to players up top and solidifying the team’s defense.

New York will continue to need that production in the back but may also need a more advanced role as the team searches for goals. Stolz currently has one goal this season but not an abundance of opportunities. Against Rochester, the team may need him to be more aggressive in order to rattle a Rhinos defense that has yet to be broken in 2015.

Aggressive but Smart

Santiago Castano narrowly avoided a second red card against Richmond when a tough play resulted in the deciding penalty kick against Richmond. Over-aggression not withstanding, Castano has shown an incredible talent in goal to go along with the tough defense in front of him. That aggression can also be what costs the team at times. Opposition will know that Castano is prone to being aggressive and push the young keeper into mistakes. New York will have to limit those opportunities and Castano himself will have to make wise choses to avoid compromising situations during the game.