New York Red Bulls II 2015 Season Review

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by ANTHONY J. MERCED

New York Red Bulls II: Season Totals

Record: 12-10-6

Top Scorer: Marius Obekop (6 goals)
Top Assists: Dan Bedoya (4 assists)

Season Review

Much like the mothership MLS New York Red Bulls, New York Red Bulls II’s inaugural season has to be seen as a tremendous success. As one of only three MLS2 teams to make the USL playoffs and the only one in the Eastern Conference, New York showed just how talented their lauded academy can play.

The biggest question going into this season was just how competitive the team would be. Head coach John Wolyniec was tempered when asked about results all season long and held to the team’s main purpose as being a breeding ground for developmental talent. Acting similarly to a minor league baseball team, NYRB II was able to provide proven bench options to the MLS squad, many of whom provided in key moments of the season.

Lastly, from a competitive standpoint, NYRB II finished very respectably. The team was one of only three MLS2 teams to advance into the USL playoffs. They also advanced to the Conference Semi-final after a dramatic victory over the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.

They were eventually eliminated by the dominant Rochester Rhinos.

Things That Went Right

  1. The Academy Produced Results. For years we’ve heard how fantastic the Red Bull Academy has been at producing players. Until this season, the only proof we have seen are promising talents making the MLS roster but quickly fading or leaving for other team rosters. This season was different as the USL squad gave us a glimpse at players like Derrick Etienne, Tyler Adams and Sean Davis and allowed them to flourish in a nurturing but competitive environment. Overall, NYRB II was a line-up dominated by current and former academy players. The numbers spoke volumes as the team finished with twelve wins on the season — and even managed to score an impressive friendly victory over Chelsea FC in a club friendly.
  2. Producing League Ready Talent. There is little doubt that NYRB II’s main objective is getting players ready to be on the MLS stage and in 2016, we are already seeing some of those players making the transition up the ladder. Tyler Adams, who was the first USL signing, is already on the senior team roster. Players like Manolo Sanchez and Leo Stolz will also more than likely see more time on the field in MLS than USL next season.

Things That Went Wrong

  1. Stadium failures. New York Red Bull II was originally supposed to make their mark in uptown Manhattan at Columbia University soccer field. Unfortunately, disagreements with scheduling forced all of the team games to Red Bull Arena and effectively pulling the plug on any chances of local support within a smaller New York community. This led to a season of cavernous, empty, houses and little atmosphere at games. The team has stated that they will search for a new home for 2016. With the league looking for D2 status, it will be important for that home to have a higher standard than many USL teams have had in years past.
  2. Defensive fragility. One of the key ideas behind having NYRB II as a development team was to mirror the efforts of the MLS side. This included the high-pressure offense that has become so successful in 2015. Playing that style didn’t necessarily create immediate success for NYRB II. The team didn’t change the system as part of the development process is to learn the top-down playing structure of the organization as a whole. 2015 saw the team give up forty-nine goals with a goal differential of just one. The reshuffling of the roster this off season will surly be to get the right mix of players that fit into the team’s tactical system.

NYRB II Player of the Year: Leo Stolz

Originally this seemed like the best point to discuss Tyler Adams’ progression to the main roster. However, Leo Stolz was most certainly the backbone of NYRB II’s midfield in 2015. He was the connection between defense and offense, providing leadership to a rather young group of players. Himself only twenty-four years of age, Stolz had that leadership swagger that certainly made him one of the standout players on the field.

Stolz finished the season with four goals and two assists while making twenty-two starts this season.

Match of the Year: NYRB II vs. Pittsburgh Riverhounds on September 26th

NYRB II’s first ever playoff game proved to be their most exciting of the season. The team fell behind to Pittsburgh on two separate occasions in a game that required extra-time to find the winner. The hero of the day was defender Karl Ouimette who tied the game in the 114th minute and then put the team ahead just before the final whistle. Pittsburgh was stunned at Red Bull Arena as New York proved their fighting spirit in a back-and-forth game.

Looking Forward

Next season will be a pivotal year for New York Red Bull II as they look to find a permanent home outside of Red Bull Arena. The team will also see a new influx of players after releasing the likes of Matt Da Fonte, Colin Heffron and Chris Tsonis. Others like Stefano Bonomo will have a strong chance to lay claim to an MLS spot should the opportunity present itself. Head coach John Wolyniec has also proven to be outstanding at balancing player development with a hunger for competitive results.

Overall, the club has laid the ground work for a promising 2016, establishing a standard of excellence both on the competitive side of the field as well as in the developmental realm.


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  • paulmac

    They should out a small stadium up near Mahwah or Suffren

  • slowleftarm

    Nice recap of the season. Only nitpicking comment is that you write Leo Stolz is “only” 24 but 24 is not young for a soccer player, a player is really in his prime at this point.

    It says quite a bit about college soccer (and none of it good) that the former college player of the year needed a developmental year in USL to be ready for MLS. Hopefully future RBNY II squads will have more players straight from the academy and less guys who spent four years in college because it’s pretty clear that college soccer is not the optimal way to develop soccer players.

    • Anthony J. Merced

      Age in US Soccer is very different from age in European soccer. Many of the players in US at that age don’t have the miles on their legs that players do in other parts of the world.

      • slowleftarm

        I guess we’ll agree to disagree but I don’t see Leo getting much better given his age and college soccer is a wasteland.

    • johnny

      but never a championship supporters shield is great but u really need to win it this year.

      • slowleftarm

        RBNY II need to win MLS Cup this year? Might be tough.

    • slow’s mother

      Son your grammer is really atrocious. I would like to send you to remedial English. Now sit down and shut up.

  • Brad

    Agreed – saw 6 or 7 RB II games online and was actually
    surprised with how not ready for prime time Stolz was. This was the # 1 rated college player in the US and frankly he looked average way too much. I hope for big improvement next year but not sure honestly.

    • People fall for the MLS SuperDraft hype train every year. Some players are pro ready. The VAST majority are not. Have to temper those expectations, even when the team is heralding these kids like the next coming of Thierry Henry.

      • Nick Chavez

        That is why the morally superior NYCFC is building through the Manchester City Academy. We are truly a global brand with a global identity which has its eye on world domination.

    • slowleftarm

      did u ever get that beer Brad ?

      • slowleftarm

        William, if you’re going to take the time to comment, at least say something that makes sense.

        • William

          not me slow really get a life – first u had a thing with Leo now me maybe its you. Relax with the accusations.

          • slowleftarm

            I assume you Cosoms fans are all the same person anyway posting under multiple names – including mine lately.

            • William

              whatever guy I don’t really care.

  • Sammy the Red Bull

    If college was good for developing soccer players, we would be winning international tournaments on a regular basis. The growing academy system hopefully will improve the American standard in the years to come.

  • William

    to be completely honest Cosmo B is far superior to Metrostars 2.

    • slowleftarm

      How do you figure? Unless you mean RBNY II is superior to the Cosmos first team in which case you are probably right.

      • William

        I figure correct cause they are.

        • slowleftarm

          Yeah – RBNY II did win a playoff game in USL and USL teams beat Cosmos opponents 7 out of 7 this year so maybe you’re right – RBNY II is better than the Cosmos first team. Makes sense.

  • Anonymous

    RBNYII superior than Chelsea.

    • William

      Slow is superior to a worm


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