In the latest strike partnerships for New York Red Bulls II, the team has decided to field Stefano Bonomo and Junior Flemmings as the two strikers in the 4-2-2-2 gegenpressing system. Flemmings and Bonomo may yet prove to be the team's most effective strike partnership.
Bonomo's is an athletically limited striker who isn't adept at scoring. He lacks the technical ability to thrive as a false nine and the size and strength necessary to succeed as a hold-up striker. It is easy to knock Bonomo for his lack of goal scoring prowess and athletic ability, however, his awareness and positional sense consistently creates space for others. Bonomo thrives at off the ball runs, which pull defenders out of position as he moves wide into space.
So far this season, Bonomo has been paired with both Anatole Abang and Brandon Allen. On a strategic level, Bonomo and Abang both want to do the same thing; to drift into and out of space, pulling defenders out of position. Abang is then able to use his superior athletic ability to score. However, Abang's Cameroonian call-ups and his frequent goal scoring indicate that he is not long for USL, and will no longer play regularly with Bonomo. Allen, on the other hand, in many ways is too similar to Bonomo physically. He often looks slow moving to space and sometimes is slow to recognize the space that Bonomo's movement creates. Allen's best attribute as a striker is scoring from chances created, not using space to create his own.
This newfound space is exactly where Flemmings will excel. Perhaps the greatest school boy striker in Jamaica, Flemmings is a natural goal scorer. He has shown ability to succeed at striker, despite his insistence that winger is his preferred position. On the wing, Flemmings has been forced to operate between the fullback and the sideline where there are less dangerous spaces. Flemmings has been quick to use his athleticism to attack gaps in the opponent's defense. With this in mind playing next to a player with Bonomo's spacing ability should open up the field for Flemmings to excel at his preferred role, putting the ball in the back of the net.