Preview: NYRB II Look for Playoff Berth in Montreal

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by ANTHONY J. MERCED

This week marks a quick turnaround for New York Red Bull II as they travel to Montreal with a chance to clinch a playoff spot.

Currently only two teams in the Eastern Conference have guaranteed themselves a coveted spot but New York could be the third depending on how the results play out. A win mixed with a Pittsburgh loss would give the Baby Bulls their first playoff appearance in their first USL season.

Currently riding a four game unbeaten streak, New York hopes to continue the habit of winning against an FC Montreal team that has little to play for other than spoiler this season. In fact, after a four game unbeaten streak, Montreal has seen a severe slump at the worst possible time. They are winless in their last four games, giving up an astounding ten goals over that span. Coupled with Montreal’s poor home record and New York should be seen as favorites headed up north.


Projected XI:

New York Red Bull II: Castano; McLaws, Da Fonte, Plewa, Heffron; Williams, Stolz, Sanchez, Obekop, Akinyode; Bonomo

FC Montreal: Fillion; Gagnon, Haman, Dominguez-Ramirez, Grant, Ait-Slimane, Beland-Goyette, Bringolf, Charbonneau, Morelli, Sukunda

Previous Results: New York holds the lead on points in the series this season with a 3-2 win back in May at Red Bull Arena and a 2-2 draw in June at Montreal.

Players to Watch: Manolo Sanchez has had some head-scratching moments this season but that is to be expected of a young player. Since NYRB II has come into play he has shown a significant improvement, especially in his touches on the ball. Where once he lost pace trying to control the ball, he now finds himself quickly in transition with the ability to fire on goal much more efficiently. This has shown with his goal count now at four, just one off from leaders Marius Obekop and Chris Tsonis. Sanchez’s distribution has also improved, making him double trouble on the inexperienced Montreal backline.

X-Factor:¬†Experience. While New York is comprised heavily of draft picks and academy players, there is also a deep mix of experienced players like Devon “Speedy” Williams and Marius Obekop. FC Montreal is far more green with one of the youngest squads in USL. This means that there is raw talent but it doesn’t always materialize into results. There will almost surely be fireworks when these two teams meet, however New York’s experience may be the edge when the final whistle is blown.


Motivation is certainly on the side of New York. Their playoff hopes hang tantalizingly close and a result in Montreal will help many people breath easier. With the Rochester Rhinos looming as the team’s curtain call on their first regular season, a win in Montreal is almost a necessity. Still, the team can’t sell the Canadian side short. Both the USL and MLS team in Montreal may be struggling, but there is a lot to be excited about as FC Montreal is one of the more entertaining sides in the USL’s Eastern Conference.

Over the course of the season, several players have made themselves stand out and with a chance at playoff soccer on the line, expect the stars to come out for New York north of the border.

 

  • slowleftarm

    Manolo Sanchez is going to be 24 in November. Nowhere else in the world would he be considered a young player.