New York Red Bulls II ended their six-game road trip with a 3-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
The loss puts NYRB II at 6-6-4 for the year, leaving them at sixth place in the Eastern Conference with a road trip record of 3-2-1.
With the New York Red Bulls playing in Columbus, NYRB II used a squad mostly made up of players with USL contracts, with some academy players mixed in. In a return to normalcy, NYRB II contained a full bench, helped by the U18 Academy team being knocked out of the national playoffs.
STARTING XI vs. @PghRiverhounds Castano, Thomas, Plewa, Da Fonte, Akinyode, Metzger, Adams, Bedoya, Etienne, Tsonis, Obekop #PGHvNY #NYRBII— NYRB II (@NYRBII) July 4, 2015
BENCH vs. @PghRiverhounds: Diaz, Borges, Manosalvas, J. Sanchez, Clay, Castellanos #PGHvNY #NYRBII— NYRB II (@NYRBII) July 4, 2015
Both teams started off hungry, generating chances in the first half. Slowly as the half wore on, Pittsburgh was pressing higher and higher up the pitch. The Riverhounds could not find that final touch, and the score remained 0-0 as Castano made some great saves to preserve the tie.
Just after the 40th minute, USL leading goalscorer Rob Vincent finally broke the floodgates open for Pittsburgh with a shot from distance. It was Vincent's 10th goal of the season, and would not be the last for him or the Riverhounds this game.
In the second half, NYRB II did not generate much action in the final third, as the Riverhounds wore the team down and scored two more goals. Tyler Pasher delivered the second goal for Pittsburgh near the 75th minute, and Rob Vincent added a second for his brace, and the final nail in the coffin for the game before stoppage time.
It was not a pretty one for NYRB II, but academy players Derrick Etienne, Juan Sebastian Sanchez, and Marcello Borges all saw the field against Pittsburgh. It was nice to see... especially if it could be Etienne's last game for NYRB II.
1.They just looked flat
After a three game road winning streak NYRB II came out and didn't generate much of an attack against Pittsburgh outside of sporadic, disjointed chances. It looked in the first half they could steal an away win via the counterattack as Pittsburgh could not find the final push to score. Obekop, Etienne, and Tsonis just did not have the final quality this match. Konrad Plewa played as a center back in this game, further depriving NYRB II of an attacking punch.
2. Tyler Adams keeps standing out
He's only 16, but his pairing with Dan Metzger in the defensive midfield role has finally come into its own. Adams was injured to start the year, but the delay in starting has not slowed the academy product down. He has a great awareness to channel the ball to the sides of the pitch away from danger, and complements with the ball-seeking Metzger very well. Adams is still raw and a few years away from regular MLS action, but his development in USL is very encouraging to watch.
3. Depth could be an issue
As the season wears on, more and more MLS loanees will keep featuring in the 18 for RBNY. Anatole Abang is a regular starter, Sean Davis could see more starts to preserve Dax McCarty for a playoff run, Manolo Sanchez has seen substitute minutes, and Leo Stolz and Shawn McLaws made the 18 for the Red Bulls' match against Columbus on Jul. 4. Without those MLS regulars, NYRB II's depth is starting to get limited again. The five academy products signed for this year (Kyle Zajec, Derrick Etienne, Juan Sebastian Sanchez, Marcello Borges, and Ethan Lochner) will begin school in August, meaning their availability will be gone very soon. It remains to be seen if players from the Red Bulls U16 academy team will see time with NYRB II after their playoff run, or if more USL signings could be made in the future.