Preview: Red Bull II Returns Home to Face Streaking Kickers

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by ANTHONY J. MERCED
USL Beat Writer

New York returns home from their first road trip to face a Richmond Kickers team that has yet to lose this year.

After four games, Red Bull II has sported a respectable 1-1-2 record with five points. A win over Richmond would bump them into a tie with tomorrow’s opponents for third place, and potentially give the baby Bulls a bit of momentum heading into a two game week.


Match Information

Wednesday April 22nd at Red Bull Arena. 7:30p ET kickoff, TV/Streaming: YouTube.com

2015 Record, GF/GA, Division and League Position, Recent Form

NYRB II: 5 points from 4 matches, 5GF/5GA, t5th in the East DWLD
Kickers: 8 points from 4 matches, 9GF/3GA, 3rd in the East DDWW


Goal Scoring a Problem for NYRB II

New York has held the ball exceptionally well and even pressed the action in a similar fashion to their MLS partners. However, the goals have not flowed as easily as originally expected. In fact, the team has not scored without the MLS bench striker Anatole Abang in the lineup this season. Striking options Tsonis, Sanchez and Obekop appear to be more of playmaker types than goalscorers. Head coach John Wolyniec will need to find that killer instinct in the final third or it may be a long night at Red Bull Arena.

Derrick Etienne may be that option. The young academy standout has worked his way into the starting lineup for the second straight game and continues to impress. He is quick on the ball and provides brilliant service for the players in front of him. His work has yet to lead to a goal but more of a forward push could help the team find out whether Etienne is a goal scorer or simply a yet another playmaker.

Red Bull Defense to be Put to the Test

Richmond has been one of the most potent scoring teams in the league, having yet to be kept off the scoresheet this season. Louisville City FC came the closest, keeping them to a 1-1 draw, but every other opponent surrendered multiple goals with the last two teams giving up three a piece.

To this point, New York has been very stingy on defense. The Wilmington game aside, they have allowed only two goals in league play. The Hammerheads stacked the deck with NYCFC players, overwhelming the relatively youthful team in a similar fashion to the way NYRB II did to Toronto FC II.

This game against Richmond will be a true test of the defense against a strong team looking to maintain their momentum after finishing a three game homestand.

Players in and Players Out

Anatole Abang may not be available for Wednesday’s game as he will more than likely be prepping for Sunday’s game against LA. At the same time, the team will be missing midfielder Dan Metzger who was called up to the Team USA U-23 team. Other players such as Sean Davis and Marius Obekop may also see limited time as NYRB II will be making a trip to Rochester on Sunday.

The team will have a returning face as Santiago Castano should be back to goalkeeping after serving his one game suspension from his red card against Wilmington. The young keeper has been solid but aggressive in his decision making. Head coach Wolyniec will have a difficult time balancing the scales as the team’s success does hinge on Castano properly utilizing his fantastic talents.


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