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New York Red Bulls II downed, 3-2, by Saint Louis FC for second straight loss

While the offense rediscovered its form, defensive issues have not gone away

Matthew Stith

New York Red Bulls II suffered a second defeat in four days on Saturday, April 8, 3-2 to Saint Louis FC. NYRB II manager John Wolyniec made five changes from the squad that lost, 1-0, on Wednesday to Harrisburg City Islanders. Florian Valot replaced returned-to-the-first-team Alex Muyl up top, while Andrew Tinari replaced Zeiko Lewis in the starting 11. Wolyniec also switched up the back four as David Najem moved to right back, Academy player Kevin O’Toole started at left back, and Tim Schmoll replaced Hassan Ndam at center back. Evan Louro reclaimed his spot as the starting keeper, having made way for Ryan Meara in the last game.

Saint Louis FC controlled the majority of the first half and it only took 3 minutes for the hosts to take the lead. Justin Bilyeu failed to clear the ball in the box and was dispossessed by Christian Volesky, who produced a clean finish.

NYRB II tried to find a foot in the game, but to no avail and Saint Louis nearly doubled the lead - Louro came up big to deny Sebastian Dalgaard.

NYRB II had their best chance of the half minutes later when a deflected clearance led to Valot striking one right at the ‘keeper.

Louro had to make a big save once again just before the half ended on Jose Angulo’s shot from outside the box.

NYRB II started out the second half much better and found the equalizer just seven minutes in. Valot’s pull-back found Brandon Allen for the 2016 USL Rookie of the Year to score his first goal of the new season, and extend his record as NYRB II’s all-time top-scorer.

Just six minutes later, the II team would take the lead. Allen’s cross into the box found Vincent Bezecourt at the back post and his header found the back of the net.

The game’s flow completely changed after that as St Louis FC’s Tyler David just missed a minute later and Bezecourt hit the post after some fancy footwork to get through the defense.

New York would be caught out again in the 73rd minute when a ball over the top beat both Bilyeu and Schmoll and the latter took down Volesky. Angulo stepped up to the spot and tied the game.

Both teams would continue to push for the winner and Wolyniec brought on Zeiko Lewis and Junior Flemmings to give the team something extra for the final push. However, NYRB II’s defense was caught again when a knockdown found Seth Rudolph in space and he fired it past Louro.

NYRB II did have two big chances late on as David Abidor’s volley was stopped by a great reaction save and O’Toole volleyed over the bar in the dying minutes.

The II team did take its chances in this game, an improvement on being shut out in its prior outing, but the back line remains a concern. Two of the four goals that NYRB II have conceded in the last two games have come off clear errors. Balls over the top have seemed to trouble the defense since the start of the season, and if the long ball keeps catching out the NYRB II back line it will be a long year for the team.

Fatigue could have played a factor in this game, as this was the team’s third match in seven days. The season is young and Wolyniec is still experimenting with combinations and positional options in his squad , but in order for the team to win games there must be more reliable chemistry and fewer errors at the back. NYRB II returns home to Montclair State University on Friday, April 14, to host Orlando City B.