Season Preview: 2017 NYRB II

photo by Jennifer Gallardo

by ANTHONY J. MERCED

Defending USL champions New York Red Bull II begin their title defense on Saturday with a team that is drastically different for the third straight season.

Like many of the MLS2 affiliate teams, the purpose of fielding a team in USL is for players move on, either up to the senior team or out to other leagues or other USL sides.

The organization retains the same philosophy with younger players. The biggest changes on the team come in defense. David Abidor, Ethan Kutler, Andrew Lombard and Jordan Scarlett will look to fill in for Aaron Long and Zach Carroll, who have departed. Last season Tim Schmoll had limited playing time but may find himself as the No. 1 defender alongside either Abidor or Scarlett. Loans from the academy and the MLS squad will also bolster the team with Connor Lade, Kevin O’Toole and Justin Bilyeu on loan to the USL side.

One player returning to the USL roster in 2017 is leading scorer Brandon Allen. Allen, 23, forward excelled in the high-press system, scoring 15 goals in 2016 and helping the team break numerous offensive records. He will be joined by fellow 2016 alumni Stefano Bonomo, who re-signed with the team this week. Combined they will be doing the heavy lifting from the forward position with newly minted Academy prospect Zach Ryan making appearances at times as well.

New York Red Bull II Roster:

Goalkeepers: Rafael Diaz, Evan Louro, Sam Ilin**

Defenders: David Abidor, Justin Bilyeu*, Andrew Lombard, Jordan Scarlett, Kevin O’Toole**, Connor Lade*, Ethan Kutler, David Najem, Hassan Ndam*, Tim Schmoll, Andrew Tinari

Midfielders: Zeiko Lewis*, Arun Basuljevic*, Vincent Bezecourt, Dan Metzger*, Ben Mines**, Florian Valot

Forwards: Stefano Bonomo, Brandon Allen*, Junior Flemmings, Zach Ryan**

*On loan from the MLS team

**Academy players on amateur agreements