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New York Red Bulls II players feature in USL 2016 All-League First and Second Teams

Congrats to Brandon Allen, Zach Carroll, and Aaron Long!

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

USL has named its All-League first and second teams for 2016. Three regulars on the record-breaking, regular-season winning New York Red Bulls II squad have been named to the selections.

Brandon Allen and Aaron Long were named to the All-League First Team:

Zach Carroll found a place on the All-League Second Team:

The All-League Second Team also features 2011 RBNY SuperDraft pick Corey Hertzog, and defender Joe Farrell, who was part of NYRB U-23s' 2014 NPSL Championship team. (He scored in the final.)

Brandon Allen is in his rookie year as a pro. The RBNY Homegrown signing made his MLS debut in May against Toronto FC, but those seven minutes off the bench have been the extent of his first team action this season. In his first year as a pro, he has played almost exclusively for NYRB II and continued the habit that defined his youth and college career: Brandon Allen scores goals.

He left Georgetown as the college's all-time leading scorer, and he finished his first pro season as NYRB II's all-time leading scorer (the team is in its second year: he didn't have a lot of competition). Allen scored 15 goals in 28 appearances for NYRB II, a USL rookie scoring record (per uslsoccer.com) and one goal short of a share of the league's Golden Boot award.

In the 2016 USL playoffs, he is currently joint top-scorer, with the USL Cup final yet to play.

Aaron Long and Zach Carroll have arrived at the end of their season with NYRB II as the team's preferred center back pairing. Collectively, they illustrate the improved flexibility that the II team allows RBNY in terms of its player development and roster management.

Carroll was a 2016 MLS SuperDraft pick for the Red Bulls, signed to a first team contract. In May, as RBNY shuffled its roster to bolster its defense with the addition of Aurelien Collin, Carroll was cut from the MLS squad - and re-signed to the USL team. He logged 25 appearances with the II team in the regular season, and has played all but two minutes of the Back-Up Bulls' playoff campaign to date.

Long has followed the opposite trajectory. He arrived at NYRB II as a veteran of USL, having played for Sacramento Republic, Orange County Blues, and Seattle Sounders FC 2. He had passed through Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders without ever clocking a minute in MLS, and appeared to be the sort of solid USL talent that NYRB II could use to bolster its lineup of Academy prospects and rookies hoping to make the first team. That Long quickly became the leader of the II team's back line didn't trouble that narrative: he was in the team, it seemed, largely to show his teammates how to cut it at the pro level.

But Long outperformed his function, and when the first team needed defensive cover, he was loaned up to MLS to be RBNY's young reserve center back of choice. Three full games in CONCACAF Champions League marked him as an important part of the Red Bulls' successful effort to qualify for the quarterfinals of that tournament.

At the start of the season, RBNY had three young-ish center backs on their MLS roster. But Gideon Baah (25) fell to a long-term injury. Karl Ouimette (24) was loaned out to Jacksonville. And Zach Carroll (22) was moved to the USL team. It is Aaron Long (24) - the guy who was supposed to be in the reserves all year - who has emerged as the Red Bulls' youngest center back option as the first team heads for the MLS playoffs.

He remains a key contributor to the USL side. In the regular season Long put in 22 appearances and scored two goals. In the playoffs so far, he has played every minute and scored twice.

Such is the strength of NYRB II this season that it is tempting to dwell on the apparent snubs: cases could be made for the inclusion of (at least) Ryan Meara, Dan Metzger, Junior Flemmings, Speedy Williams, and Derrick Etienne in the All-League selections.

But their absence from the USL's end-of-season Best-Of squads doesn't diminish the achievements of Allen, Carroll or Long. Congrats!