NYRB II's last outing was used to test several future and current first-teamers, most of whom were on the bench for RBNY's MLS game against Seattle and therefore not available for the USL team's trip to Orlando. That deprived the squad of many of the players it often sees loaned down from MLS, and there were no academy prospects loaned up (presumably due to upcoming playoff commitments), so NYRB II sent an abbreviated team to play OCB. There were only four players on the Red Bulls bench, but one of them was Vincent Bezecourt - returning from a severe injury sustained earlier in the season.
It was not a weak starting lineup by the standards of NYRB II this season, though Justin Bilyeu's promotion to MLS sub duty deprived the lineup of its regular starting left back. Konrad Plewa switched flanks to plug the gap.
The defense was both the star of NYRB II's show in Orlando, and the villain of the piece. The early exchanges suggested the Red Bulls might trample over OCB, since the hosts seemed to struggle to handle their gegenpressing visitors. But it was Orlando who opened the scoring. In the 17th minute, Ryan Meara misjudged his effort to catch or clear a cross in the box. Seemingly caught between trying to get to the ball and trying not to obliterate the players in front of him, Meara didn't get nearly enough on his clearance and took himself out of the play in the process. The ball landed in front of Devron Garcia, who knocked it into an empty net.
The Red Bulls were struggling to find the final touch in front of goal, until the 38th minute, when it was OCB's turn to fail to deal with a cross into the box. Tim Schmoll is 6' 6" and was up front to get on the end of a corner, but when the ball bobbled around in front of goal - he tapped it home with a striker's anticipation and deftness.
The equalizer served as inspiration. Three minutes later, another short corner brought another Devon Willliams cross into the box. This time, the ball found its target, though Aaron Long did extremely well to first-time his volley to the far post.
The Red Bulls went in at half-time with their defense to thank for a 2-1 lead.
John Wolyniec emptied his short bench on to the pitch during the second half - Bezecourt, Zoumana Simpara, and David Najem, all got time on the field - but to no avail. NYRB II couldn't extend its lead, but did seem to have done enough to hold on to the win, until the 87th minute when Bryan Rochez split the back line with a nifty through ball and Pierre Da Silva bagged the equalizer for the home team.
The result snapped NYRB II's remarkable run of perfect away form (it had won all five preceding road games in the current league campaign), and it stopped the team's four-game winning streak and the streak of four consecutive clean sheets. But the USL side is now unbeaten in its last seven games, and lies second in the Eastern Conference with a game in hand on league-leading Louisville City FC.
NYRB II is next in action on Sunday, June 26, when it will face Wilmington Hammerheads at Red Bull Arena. Kick off is at 3:00 pm.