Preview: NYRB II Visit in front of Largest Crowd in Cincinnati

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by ANTHONY J. MERCED

New York Red Bull II will continue their road trip this week as they head to Cincinnati, expecting a packed house of over 10,000 fans on Wednesday night. The meeting with third place FC Cincinnati will be an opportunity to extend their unbeaten streak to 12 games and put some distance between themselves and their third place competitor.

This first-time meeting between the two sides will represent the biggest USL crowd NYRB II has played in front of to date. To this point, FC Cincinnati has had record fan attendance and rewarded them with a fantastic debut season which has them competing for a first round bye in the playoffs. New York is hoping to lock down their hold on second place while also keeping pace with Louisville City who have not lost in 17 straight games.


STARTING XI:

New York Red Bull II: Meara; Najem, Carroll, Schmoll, Plewa; Adams, Williams, Etienne Jr.; Bonomo, Flemmings, Allen

FC Cincinnati: Hildebrandt; McMahon, Berry, Delbridge, Polak; Wiedeman, Walker, Nicholson, McLaughlin; Cummings, Okoli

Player to Watch: Stefano Bonomo has started to emerge from his shell since NYRB II’s formation shifted to a 4-3-3. The striker has found more room to move with the ball and doesn’t have the responsibility of always going for goal. His calm finish against Charlotte was a perfect example as he is allowed to move from the left side of the field, drifting into the center at key moments. Bonomo and Allen have also found a good partnership that is giving defenses headaches in the final third of the field.

X-Factor: The standings. Head coach John Wolyniec has been coy when discussing the league as a motivator for his team, which is very focused on player development. However, it has become more and more apparent that the team and coach see an opportunity to do something special as we approach the final portion of the season. This 12-game unbeaten streak and undefeated road record, have put this team in a position to be a true competitor for the USL championship and a win over Cincinnati would put enough room between second and third to start thinking about what could be.


FC Cincinnati will be one of New York’s toughest challenges to date. Aside from the overwhelming support of the 12th man, the team has had a strong defense allowing only 16 goals all season. Coupled with MLS veterans like Omar Cummings at the striker position and John Harkes in front of the bench and Cincinnati has become one of the major forces in the USL.

New York Red Bull II will still be playing from a position of strength. The team has excelled on the road, dropping only two points all season. Despite losing Aaron Long to a red card last week, NYRB II has the depth, size and form to keep their point streak alive.

 


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