USL Week 25 Recap: NYRB II Season Champs, West Still Undecided

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by ANTHONY J. MERCED

Jockeying for playoff positioning continues in USL Week 25 but we have locked in on the best regular season team in 2016. A win against Bethlehem Steel FC in midweek solidified New York Red Bull II as the best team in the 2016 USL regular season. Their impressive season has seen them drop full points only three times all season and set a new USL point total.

Out West the situation is a bit more chaotic. Sacramento Republic FC are holding on to a slim two point lead with Colorado Springs and Rio Grande Valley chasing them for the top spot. Recent inconsistent form for LA Galaxy II and Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 has also left them clawing for home field advantage in the playoffs as the season winds down.

New York Red Bull II Win Title But Can’t Beat Rochester

New York Red Bull II took home the USL regular season championship in week 25 with a comprehensive win over Bethlehem Steel FC but still can’t find a way to beat the Rochester Rhinos. After two scoreless draws at Red Bull Arena, both sides managed to find the net at Rhinos Stadum but couldn’t settle what is quickly becoming a rivalry feud. In all likelihood Rochester will meet Red Bull II at some point in the playoffs but it doesn’t appear to be the first round.

The remaining two games of the USL season will be playoff preparating for NYRB II and recovering from injuries. Junior Flemmings will be out for the remainder of the season but Florian Valot and Vincent Bezecourt appear more than ready to take the vacated spote. Bezecourt in particular has stepped up his game and his goal against Rochester really showed his progress. John Wolyniec will need his talents should they run into Rochester in the playoffs.

Who Will Win the West

Sacramento Republic FC remain atop the Western Confernce but Colorado Springs and Rio Grande Valley will take the race down to the wire. Both Sacramento and Colorado Springs only have two games remaining but Rio Grande has three, giving them the edge with only a three point gap to make up.

The Switchbacks was the only team in the top three that won this past week and have momentum going into the final two games. They’ve won three of their last four games, with subpar competition in T2 and OC Blues to end their season. Still, Rio Grande Valley holds a major card with a goal differential of +20. Should the standings end knotted up, they hold the ace that could give them the conference in their first ever season.

WEEK 25 RESULTS:

St. Louis FC: 1
FC Cincinnati: 2

Seattle Sounders FC 2: 2
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2: 2

Charleston Battery: 1
FC Montreal: 2

New York Red Bull II: 4
Harrisburg City Islanders: 1

Orlando City B: 0
Wilmington Hammerheads: 3

Orange County Blues FC: 2
Real Monarchs SLC: 0

New York Red Bull II: 1
Rochester Rhinos: 1

Richmond Kickers: 0
Louisville City FC: 2

St. Louis FC: 3
San Antonio FC: 1

Pittsburgh Riverhounds: 0
Charlotte Independence: 4

Tulsa Roughnecks: 0
Swope Park Rangers: 3

Sacramento Republic FC: 1
LA Galaxy II: 1

Bethlehem Steel FC: 1
Charleston Battery: 2

Portland Timbers 2: 1
Rio Grande Valley FC: 0

FC Cincinnati: 2
Wilmington Hammerheads: 0

Colorado Springs Switchbacks: 2
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2: 0

Seattle Sounders FC 2: 2
OKC Energy FC: 2

Orlando City B: 1
Toronto FC II: 2