Preview: NYRB II Travel to Richmond for Tough Test

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by ANTHONY J. MERCED

New York Red Bull II travel to Virginia to play the Richmond Kickers on Saturday evening at City Stadium. This is the first game for NYRB II since their second loss of the season and a tough test against a veteran Richmond team.

These two teams squared off earlier in the season at Red Bull Arena with a late equalizer from Alex Lee deciding the game. After that, New York rattled off four straight wins and remain undefeated on the road in 2016. The Kickers themselves have been quite formidable at City Stadium with only one loss all season.


PROJECTED STARTING XI:

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

Richmond Kickers: Turner; Troyer, Durkin, Roberts, Mishu, Owusu, Asante, Aguilar, Jane, Imura, Grant

Player to Watch: Devon Williams was an essential player that sometimes goes unnoticed in the midfield, but the team’s play last week showed just how important he is. The dynamic midfielder is the connection between the defense and offense with seamless passing that should give an edge to NYRB II should he return to the lineup after much needed rest.

X-Factor: Road form has been key for New York Red Bull II who remain undefeated away from Red Bull Arena. The game against Richmond represents their toughest task as the Kickers are not only a veteran side but one that knows how to get points at home. NYRB II will need to keep an eye on the counter which has burned them this season but should be able to get back to their form with many starters returning to the starting XI.


Saturday night’s game will be a test of the coaching as much as it will be for the players. Head coach John Wolyniec has seen his team perform well in the season but fall victim to veteran sides who are willing to wait for their opportunities on the counter. Richmond, much like Charleston last week, is one of those teams who have no problem bunkering and waiting for their chance to pounce.

New York should have fresh faces with a week off following three games in a short span. Players like Brandon Allen, Devon Williams and Derrick Etienne Jr. should be returning to the lineup and providing the offensive punch this team lacked against Charleston. The team will have to play without striker and assist man Stefano Bonomo who is serving the first of his four game suspension following a punch to a player last week.