One has to beat the best to truly be the best.
At the moment New York Red Bulls II sit at the top of the Eastern Conference and the USL as a whole, tied with Louisville City with 47 points, leading on goal differential. Red Bulls II have the best goal differential in the league, they have the second fewest goals allowed in the league, and their oldest regular contributor is 24 years-old. The Baby Bulls sit at number one in the USL’s most recent power rankings and they are predicted to absolutely run away with the USL regular season title.
However, to be the best, one has to first beat the best.
Sitting just ahead of Red Bulls II on the schedule and just behind NYRBII in the standings is Louisville City FC. The two teams are tied in points at the moment, though New York has two games in hand. A win for either team Friday will allow them to become the first team in the USL to clinch a playoff spot this year.
Between Hilario Grajeda being the center ref for another New York Red Bulls game and New York Red Bulls II lacking many of their usual contributors due to injury or first team commitments, the deck seems to be stacked against New York just a little bit. Yet, with Zoumana Simpara, Floria Valot, and Junior Flemmings continuing to step up and take on even larger roles within the team and VAR on their side, one should not feel bad for the supposedly disadvantaged Red Bulls II.
If New York Red Bulls II win on Friday and claims a playoff spot, it will be through the depth talent and the strength of system which coach John Wolyniec has put together and helped foster. There is something to be proud of in that.
If New York Red Bulls II lose on Friday, it will very likely be the fact that Louisville City is a fine team and they played the better game over 90 minutes. There is nothing to be ashamed of in that.
To be the best, one must beat the best. On Friday, that title will be determined, however momentarily, for the USL for the first time this season.
Friday, August 19th, at 7:00pm.
Red Bull Arena, Harrison, New Jersey.
How to watch:
In the stadium, at Red Bulls Arena. Tickets are only $10 ($8 for Red Members), or the game can be watched online on the USL’s Youtube page or here.
NYRBII: Kyle Reynish; Noah Powder, Zach Carroll, Tim Schmoll, Kevin O’Toole; Dan Metzger, ‘Speedy’ Williams; Florian Valot, Vincent Bezecourt, Junior Flemmings; Zoumana Simpara
Louisville City: Ranjitsingh; Newnam, Craig, Reynolds, Montano; Abend, Quinn; Dacres, Lancaster, Lubahn; Hoffman
2-1 Final: Flemmings and Simpara get the goals for New York in a very close game.