Preview: NYRB II Play First Road Game, Face Battery

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by ANTHONY J. MERCED
USL Beat Writer

After three straight home games, New York Red Bull II will take to the road for the first time in their history Saturday night to play Charleston Battery.

New York currently sits in sixth in the Eastern Conference, hoping to take at least a point from the Battery who have yet to lose a game in their first three outings. Having to face an experienced side and being short on players after Santiago Castano was sent off in their last game, head coach John Wolyniec and the team will have plenty to prepare for.

Scoring is a Big Problem

Aside from their game against Toronto FC II where several MLS bench players received a start, the team has been unable to score goals in league play. They have been effective in creating opportunities as was on display against Wilmington. However, the team lacks the final touch to convert opportunities. Being on the road Saturday night and having the first team in Harrison on Friday night will more than likely mean NYRB II will be on their own with a similar squad lacking in MLS bench talent.

Leo Stolz, who has played more of a holding midfield role to this point, may be asked to shoulder more of the offensive firepower as Tsonis and Sanchez have been unable to be target strikers up to this point. Marius Obekop has been effective in the creativity of the team moving forward but has also been unable to find the back of the net when given the opportunity.

Charleston May Have Figured Out Their Defensive Issues

To start the year, Charleston saw themselves either chasing the game or holding on near the end. Against Toronto FC II to start their campaign, they fell behind by two goals, only to score three in the second half. In their last game against the Harrisburg City Islanders, the Battery managed to grab their first clean sheet while also retaining their high powered offense.

Only Sacramento and Seattle have more goals this season but have also played more games.

If Charleston has been able to solidify their defense, New York will be in for a long game as their offense has scored multiple goals in each of their first three fixtures. The lack of a consistent goalkeeper will also be of concern for NYRB II as Santiago Castano will be absent from the lineup due to a red card infringement against Wilmington. There is always a possibility that Kyle Reynish could be available but more than likely it will be the starting debut for Rafael Diaz, a 2014 MLS Superdraft pick who was a standout at St. John’s University.

Derrick Etienne Needs to Show Just a Bit More

There is no doubt that the Red Bull organization is excited about Academy prospect Derrick Etienne. The 17-year-old standout started his first game against Wilmington after making explosive appearances off of the bench in his first two games. Head coach John Wolyniec has high expectations for him in each game and he has done little to disappoint up to now. Etienne could end up reprising his role as the central attacking midfielder or perhaps replace Tsonis up top as the team’s lead striker. Roles are there to be won for younger players and Etienne is certainly being given the opportunity to lay claim to a specific position on this team.