The New York Red Bulls II extended their current unbeaten streak to nine USL games and tallied their tenth clean sheet of the 15 league matches this weekend. The 0-0 draw against Rochester Rhinos at Red Bull Arena was the same result these teams produced the last time they met - on April 17, also at Red Bull Arena.
NYRB II head coach John Wolyniec was, if anything, a little underwhelmed by the result:
I guess I didn't see a lot [that was] different. It looked almost exactly the same...It looked a little bit too similar to the last game for me. But, you know, not a bad effort for sure.
The Red Bulls suffered an early setback to their game plan when stalwart defender Aaron Long had to withdraw from the game in the 22nd minute. Since RBNY's Damien Perrinelle was playing out a rehab start for NYRB II and left the match at half-time, it means the Red Bulls played the second half with a remodeled back line.
Under those circumstances, it is perhaps more impressive that the reserves held on to a clean sheet against the defending USL champion. 'Keeper Ryan Meara was instrumental in preserving the shutout.
To perhaps further explain the Red Bulls' labors on the field, Wolyniec noted the latest effort to mirror the tactics of the first team had perhaps muted the impact of one of the team's more reliable performers. Derrick Etienne has been tasked with playing more centrally occasionally, and that was one of the coach's objectives in this match:
We came out in the second half of last game in a 4-3-3 with Derrick in the middle, and it seemed to work. And with the first team playing in a 4-3-3, we wanted to transition to that as well and see. And, you know, it was a position that he played for us last year and like I said in the second half of last game, so we feel comfortable with that and we thought that it would be effective today. And with games going forward, we thought that a move into that formation would help us going forward. So maybe it didn't come off so well today, but we have confidence in Derrick playing that spot.
NYRB II is currently second to Louisville City FC in the USL's Eastern Conference, trailing by three points with a game in hand. The team will now test its extraordinary defensive record (just eight goals conceded in 15 games) with an extended run of road games: the next three matches in a row will be played away from home, and five of the next six, starting with the July 9 match in Montreal.