After a strange regular season and defeating two solid opponents in the Quarters and the Semis in the USL playoffs, the Red Bulls side will be making a trip to Derby City as they will take on Louisville City for the second consecutive year in the USL Eastern Conference Final.
“They are a good team and they have been one of the best teams in the league for most of this season, it’s kind of opposing styles and it’ll always be a heavyweight fight when we play each other.” said John Wolyniec.
“It has been in the past and we have had the edge on them the last couple of years, they got the edge on us this year, so we shall see how it goes. We do feel good and we have no misconceptions about this game. They will be a very tough opponent for us.”
Last year before Red Bulls 2 won the USL Cup Championship they had to face a tough Louisville City side that looked to have their number and scored an early goal, but it was a Florian Valot equalizer that forced extra time and victory was done via the penalty shootout as Ryan Meara made two big saves.
But last year the East Final was at Red Bull Arena as they won the Regular Season Shield, this year it will be at the home of the purple and gold in Louisville Slugger Field and this season the Triple A minor league ballpark has been a fortress for the home side. So it sounds like revenge will be on the mind of James O’Connor
“I value what James has done, he has done a great job and has reached the Semi-Finals three years in a row. Adds a big emotional element to this game for them and for us and repeating the game from last year, but now it’s at their home.” said Wolyniec.
“It’s certainly a great story, he’s a great coach he puts a lot into it. He’s done a really good job in three successful seasons and I admire the way they play, He won’t change his tactics and I won’t change either. So we will value these games.”
Stefano Bonomo has really turned it on towards the end of this regular season and has converted some big goals in the playoffs including the brace he converted down at Al Lang Stadium against the Tampa Bay Rowdies. He has switched on at the right time.
“The Bonomo Story has been an interesting one, I’ve felt bad for him for the last two years where he hasn’t felt a hundred percent, finally we get him to place in the middle of the season where he feels close to a hundred percent.” said Wolyniec.
“Comes in and starts off great, maybe the regular playing week in and week out zaps his legs a little bit. But now he’s in a good place, we know we are a better team with him and when he is playing with so much confidence.”
Jordan Scarlett who came out with a hamstring injury is a game time decision and Wolyniec stressed that it will be exactly a game time decision, so we shall see if Scarlett will be available and ready to go when they kickoff at Louisville Slugger Field.
But this will be an interesting match up once again as the same two sides from last seasons Eastern Conference Final will meet up in this years Eastern Conference Final, but the location will be down in Louisville, Kentucky as Lou City will host RBNY2 for the Conference Championship.