Manolo Sanchez is on the USL Team of the Week!
The New York Red Bulls' winger was consistently NYRB II's most dangerous player this week. Against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, Sanchez induced an own goal in the sixth minute to give his team the lead. In the second half, he scored himself, and hit the crossbar with a deft shot from an acute angle. The RBNY USL side ultimately secured a 3-2 win, and a large part of the three points was owed to the individual efforts of Sanchez.
He has quickly emerged as one of NYRB II's most effective players. Sanchez has started all seven USL games his team has played this season - the only player to have done so (Derrick Etienne has appeared in all seven games, but not started each of them). Sanchez also leads the team in shots taken.
His role for NYRB II is similar to that of Lloyd Sam for the first team, which is Sanchez's biggest obstacle to converting his current form into first team minutes: he may be the best player on NYRB II, but he plays the same position as one of the best players on RBNY.
Nonetheless, his form this week was an encouraging suggestion that the young winger will be ready for his chance should it arrive this season. And if it doesn't, he is an entertaining player in his own right for NYRB II.
Colin Heffron was named to USL's Team of the Week for his versatile defensive display against Rochester Rhinos in NYRB II's opening game of the season. Shawn McLaws was selected to the league's best eleven in Week 3 of the USL season, after he scored the goal that is currently leading OaM's RBNY Goal of the Month voting. (Former Red Bull Brandon Barklage got selected to the Week 4 USL TotW.)
But accolades from the league have been hard to come by in recent weeks, as NYRB II has confronted the reality of being a young and oft-shuffled squad of players in a professional competition. The team did not even muster a candidate for USL's Goal of the Month competition for April.
Results have been subdued in recent weeks: the Baby Bulls had lost three and drawn one of their last four games heading into their May 3 match against Pittsburgh Riverhounds. The team had been outscored 7-1 in that stretch.
So Sanchez's selection to the Team of the Week is not merely good news for him, but also good news for NYRB II, who broke the streak of disappointing results with this week's 3-2 win. The team's value to RBNY does not rest on results, but players like to win games.
Congratulations to Manolo Sanchez and NYRB II for a return to winning ways.