Preview: NYRB II Hope for Restart at Pittsburgh

by ANTHONY J. MERCED

New York Red Bull II (3-1-2, 11 points) travel to Highmark Stadium in Pittsburgh to play the Riverhounds (0-2-3, 3 points) on Saturday night. New York is hoping to get back to their winning ways after a 2-0 loss to Charlotte at home last week and the struggling Riverhounds may be just the team to break their schneid.

This season, New York has gone undefeated on the road and are yet to allow a goal in 180 minutes of play. Those wins came against Eastern Conference leading Louisville City FC and the Wilmington Hammerheads.

In both games, New York was successful at pushing the pace and creating dynamic scoring opportunities through the connections between Brandon Allen, Derrick Etienne Jr. and Junior Flemmings.

With those three more than likely to return to the starting lineup, Red Bull II has to be seen as a heavy favorite in this week.


STARTING XI:

NEW YORK RED BULL II: Reynish; Powder, Ouimette, Schmoll, Long; Metzger, Adams, Etienne Jr., Junior Flemmings; Bonomo, Allen

PITTSBURGH RIVERHOUNDS: Gilstrap; Campbell, Hunt, Schafer, Barson, Kerr, Bissue, Swanson, Boggs, Hollingsworth, Parkes

PLAYER TO WATCH: Junior Flemmings. Last week we didn’t see Junior Flemmings until the second half and it was obvious that the team sorely missed his playmaking ability. Now with the senior team in Orlando and NYRB II in Pittsburgh, expect a more typical USL lineup from John Wolyniec which should include Flemmings. The 20 year old forward has been a major catalyst for the team’s dynamic offensive play in 2016. So much so that he has been called up for the preliminary Copa America Centenario Jamaican National team roster. Expect him to continue to turn heads this week against Pittsburgh.

X-FACTOR: John Wolyniec certainly didn’t seem like a head coach who was satisfied with his team’s performance last week. After five weeks of gathering points suddenly coming to an end, the former Metrostar/Red Bull great will certainly be looking to fire up his side and return them to their winning ways. In many ways, Wolyniec’s work has been a bit underrated. However, when he has been able to put his full team out on the field on 2016, they have played with an unrelenting style that even rivals the entertainment factor produced by the MLS team.


The Riverhounds and Red Bull II is a fixture that has become notorious for entertaining finishes. Last season, Anthony Wallace provided a late game-winner in the regular season for New York and in the playoffs, Ouimette scored twice to down Pittsburgh in extratime. Both teams tend to leave it all on the field and one should expect the same on Saturday night.

One newsworthy note is that New York should have two familiar faces returning to the starting lineup. Last season’s playoff hero Ouimette, who has seen a defensive spot disappear on the main roster with Aurelien Collin’s arrival, is expected to make a start with Red Bull II. Also, backup goalkeeper Kyle Reynish could see significant playing time as he hasn’t made a start in MLS yet this season. Both players are very familiar with John Wolyniec an Red Bull II, making these inclusions a potential positive heading into a pivotal away game at Highmark Stadium.


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