Preview: NYRB II Look for Harrisburg Sweep

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by ANTHONY J. MERCED

New York Red Bull II take their six game winning streak on the road and hope to sweep the season series against the Harrisburg City Islanders on Wednesday afternoon.

Last week New York revealed that they would give up home field advantage in order for grounds crew to do much needed repairs to Red Bull Arena’s field. Harrisburg, also in a tough spot with their stadium situation, will host this game at Millersville University which will be their home for the remaining two home games of the campaign.

From one perspective, giving up home field advantage would be a tough sell. However, NYRB II has been fantastic on the road, losing only once all year.


PROJECTED STARTING XI:

New York Red Bull II: Meara; Long, Carroll, Schmoll, Plewa; Williams, Metzger, Etienne Jr.; Valot, Flemmings, Allen

Harrisburg City Islanders: Broome; Thomas, Doyle, Leverock, McLaws; Benbow, Warshaw, Dabo, Vickers; Barrill, Foster

Player to Watch: Konrad Plewa made his return to the field following a stroke suffered over a month ago. Whether he starts or comes off the bench, the inclusion of Plewa is a much needed injection of fresh legs for a New York team that has had quite a number of fixtures over the summer. Before leaving, Plewa also solidified the left back position and appeared to be one of the more reliable players for John Wolyniec. If he can recover his form and stay healthy, Plewa will be a strong addition to not just this game but the team’s playoff run in early October.

X-Factor: Renewed defense. Since starting this six game winning streak New York’s defense has been in top form. Over the course of the six game stretch, they have only allowed one goal and have tied their own record for most consecutive shutouts. Expect another high energy performance from a back line that feels unstoppable against an offense in Harrisburg that has done little to impress in 2016.

Where to Watch: YouTube at 4PM on 9/7


Another win for NYRB II and the Eastern Conference will be locked down mathematically. That fact alone gives New York the motivation to continue their strong form against Harrisburg on Wednesday afternoon. The team has been unbelievable on the road this season and will rely on Brandon Allen to lead the offense, currently in third place in the golden boot race with 13 goals.

The two previous meetings also show just where the power lies in this series: two games against Harrisburg and six goals scored for New York with both games being shutouts. It’s hard to argue that New York wouldn’t be the favorites heading into Millersville University. However, this is the USL and the team cannot underestimate the need for the City Islanders to win this game. Five points out from the final playoff spot, a loss could see their season end with another regular season exit — disappointing the team’s finish in the the USL Championship game in 2014.