Preview: NYRB II, Louisville Clash for Top Spot

photo by Jennifer Gallardo

by ANTHONY J. MERCED

New York Red Bull II and Louisville City FC will play one of the biggest games of the USL season at Red Bull Arena on Friday night. Both teams are tied for first place with the winner gaining the clear advantage as the regular season reaches the home stretch.

New York drew even on points with Louisville last week after their second five goal performance, beating Orlando City B 5-1. Conversely, Louisville has stumbled of late with two straight draws and only one win in their last five games.

New York also has two games in hand on Louisville, making their final clash of the 2016 regular season that much more important to the outcome of the Eastern Conference.


PROJECTED STARTING XI:

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

Louisville City FC: Ranjitsingh; Newnam, Craig, Reynolds, Montano; Abend, Quinn; Dacres, Lubahn, Lancaster; Hoffman

Player to Watch: Since joining the team, Florian Valot has played at an extremely high level. His inclusion has only made Brandon Allen a better goal scorer and freed up space for Junior Flemmings to show off his unique skills on the ball. He also serves as a potential goal scoring threat as he proved in the game against Orlando City B.

X-Factor: Hunger for first place. USL teams have been criticized in the less informed circles for not being competitive. However, New York Red Bull II have proven that theory wrong. This game against Louisville is being treated as a huge opportunity for the club not only from a developmental standpoint but also from a competitive one as well.

Where to Watch: YouTube at 7PM


The momentum is solidly behind New York Red Bull II who have rebounded from their first back-to-back losses of the season with impressive goal scoring displays. The team has scored ten goals in their last two fixtures while only allowing one.

Their opposition has seemingly lost that goal scoring edge while also falling behind defensively. Louisville has not garnered a clean sheet since July 4th, looking susceptible especially on the counter.

The magnitude of this game cannot be understated. NYRB II could move three points into first with a win while still maintaining two games in hand. The importance of that is significant seeing as a clash with Cincinnati and a trip to Rochester are the only difficult fixtures remaining in the season.

A win, and New York may be locking up the Eastern Conference and the regular season championship.