Preview: NYRB II Hope to Stall Reeling Richmond

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by ANTHONY J. MERCED
USL Beat Writer

New York ventures away from the friendly confines of Red Bull Arena for their longest stretch of road games this season, starting in Richmond Saturday night against the Kickers.

A 3-2 victory last week against FC Montreal sends New York on the road with optimism against a Kickers team that has not won in their last four and have plummeted down the table to fourth. A win against Richmond and Red Bull II would find itself only one point shy of the Kickers but they will have to do something they have been unable to do so far this season — win away from home.


Projected XI

New York Red Bull II: Castano; McLaws, Da Fonte, Jean-Baptiste, Wallace; Adams, Stolz, Sanchez, Etienne, Obekop; Tsonis

Richmond Kickers: Thompson; Arena, Pasher, Hunt, Dallman; Okai, Earls; Vincent, Barilo, Kerr, Moloto

Last Encounter: 1-0 Richmond at Red Bull Arena

Battle to Watch: Matthew Delicate vs. New York defense. Delicate currently sits in a log jam for third in the USL with five goals. He has provided a third of the team’s goals this season. The Kickers have yet to be shut out at home and scored multiple goals in all but two home games. New York will have their hands full keeping the Richmond strikers in check.

X-Factor: Derrick Etienne. The academy standout has finally gotten himself on the scoreboard. His game winning goal against Montreal will certainly be a confidence booster and with only a limited amount of games left before he leaves for college, Derrick will certainly hope to make the most of his chances.


Richmond has all of the Pressure

New York’s first trip to Virginia will see them placing all of the pressure on the home side. With only one win in their last five games after starting the season on an undefeated streak, the Kickers will certainly be pressing for a return to victory lane. New York may be able to catch Richmond on the counter quite easily. Speedy forwards like Etienne and Obekop could turn midfield turnovers and overly aggressive play into goal scoring opportunities.

New York Has Yet to Impress Away From Home

Red Bull II has certainly done their best to play the high pressure style of the first team but efforts away from Red Bull Arena have been less than stellar with play being lost in translation. The team consists of mostly academy and draft players, so the rigors of road travel are still a steep learning curve. In the two road games they have played, the team has never held a lead. More importantly, they have lacked the killer instinct from home fixtures.

The team may also be short a major player. With the New York Red Bulls playing in Seattle this weekend, Anatole Abang will more than likely be unavailable as he’ll travel with the first team. This leaves Chris Tsonis up top who has yet to score in the USL this year.