Perhaps you know a lot about the New York Red Bulls. I’m willing to bet you don’t know a ton about the USL affiliate, NYRBII. Fortunately, Joseph Steen does. He covers the USL side for SB Nation’s Once a Metro. Let us learn from him.
For Club and Country: MLS 2 sides often have a different philosophy than the average USL team. What has NYRBII’s roster consistency been like this year? Lots of guys going up and down or pretty regular?
Joseph Steen: Aside from their game against Ottawa on Wednesday the roster has been pretty consistent for the most part. Ben Mines is really the only player that’s been back and forth between the senior squad and NYRB II. Some of the senior team players such as Carlos Rivas and Fidel Escobar have been sent down in order to build up their fitness.
FCAC: Red Bulls II are known for scoring a ton of goals, but also letting in a ton. Are they sticking true to that form in 2018?
JS: I would say the defense has been much better this year, only game that has really stuck out as being a poor defensive effort was against Atlanta United 2. A lot of credit should go to Ethan Kutler, Hassan Ndam and Jordan Scarlett’s growth at their respective positions. Their MLS SuperDraft second round pick Niko de Vera has been rock solid on the right as well. The goal scoring has been sparse on the road but at home they’ve scored 12 in three games.
FCAC: Who are some of the star players that we should look out for Sunday afternoon? Anybody that may not be a well-known name yet that you like?
JS: From an attacking standpoint MLS SuperDraft first round pick Brian White has stepped into the striker role and scored 4 goals in 5 games. Amando Moreno has been a threat on the left side while Stefano Bonomo has looked better after his fitness issues. Jose Aguinaga and Andrew Tinari are two of the more creative players in the squad and provide plenty of chances. They key man will be Cristian Cásseres though, he’s been one of the main reasons the NYRB II midfield has been so dominant at times which has helped them control games. He’s still growing into his role but is already drawing comparisons to Tyler Adams.
FCAC: Has the strength of the Red Bulls Academy been a positive for the USL side? Are there many players on the team that didn’t come up through the NYRB Academy?
JS: Absolutely it has. About one third of the eighteen players named in the squad last weekend had come through the NYRB academy. Last year we saw Derrick Etienne Jr. and Tyler Adams make the jump to the first team. So far this year, only Mines has made the jump back and forth but there’s others that might not be far behind.
FCAC: The team is on an iffy run of form lately, with three draws in a row with three of the worst teams in the USL. Is that concerning? Are there signs that they’ll snap out of it or that it’s going to be a longer-term thing?
JS: The road form was one my main concerns heading into the season for this team. We know how good they are at home, but getting results on the road was going to a big key. I wouldn’t say the three draws are a big concern, I’m more concerned with the slow first half’s for this team, they’ve only led once going into halftime all season (at home against Tampa). The second half however they’ve come out and looked like a completely different team and have controlled the game.
FCAC: What is your predicted Starting XI for the game? Any other specific predictions (including a final score)?
JS: Squad prediction: Louro, Kutler, Ndam, Scarlett, de Vera, Tinari, Casseres, Moreno, Echevarria, Stroud, White
My prediction would be a 2-1 win for NYRB II if this was a road game I might be a little more reserved in picking them but at home they’re a different team. I’ll say White and Moreno each have a goal in this one.
Thanks again to Joseph for his time. Check out his work at Once a Metro.