A scoreless draw. I'll take it. The first match was always going to be a tough one for New York Red Bulls II. The team had been put together at an increasingly late hour and was without the benefit of defenders on loan from the first team due to injuries and international call ups.
However, they played well and managed a tie. After getting bossed around for much of the first half, the reserves settled in during the second half and looked like a team that could make the playoffs this season. The connection to the strikers isn't there yet, but that takes time. The defense bent, but didn't break.
Also, Leo Stolz had a penalty saved. He should have done better on that.
1) Santiago Castano will finally get experience.
And he will be getting a lot of it. The Homegrown goalkeeper is going to be facing plenty of shots this season. Is he the keeper of the future? We're going to find out. Castano made mistakes and had some nervy minutes at the beginning of the match, but paired them with great reaction saves. We're going to find out how good Castano can be and he's going to get every opportunity to prove himself.
2) This is all a work in progress
Some players were playing out of position due to necessity. Despite the roster's inexperience and lack of chemistry, they played well. At first, it looked like Rochester would dominate the match, but things settled down and head coach John Wolyniec made the necessary tactical changes. Young players are getting match experience in a professional environment, and that's all that matters.
3) Marius Obekop is fast.
He should have no problem adjusting to the USL game, but his passing, shooting, decision making, and positional awareness need to get better. The Cameroonian international played multiple positions during the match and still appears to have not settled on where he belongs. He still avoids using his right foot to his own detriment. Obekop brings the ball back to his left foot even after he has beaten a defender which usually brings him back into traffic. However, he is beating the defender, so that's good. Although he remains a work in progress, the limitless potential is evident.
- Manolo Sanchez looked decent. Better than decent even. I'll go so far as to say that the rookie from Clemson looked good.
- This team is missing veterans. Traditionally, you want a few veterans on the reserve team, even if they have no chance of making an impact on the senior team. They serve as a guide to young players and can yell at them on the field.
- The Academy players did well. They demonstrated no jitters and were able to hang with the professionals. Derrick Etienne, in particular, stood out. His first touch is great and he is always trying to get involved with the play.
Anyway, that's it for now. Aaron Bauer will probably have a full match report later. The senior team (remember them?) plays Columbus at 7:30.