Eight games into the season and New York Red Bulls II are still looking for their first win away from home (0-2-2).
With this game being sandwiched in between last weekend’s win against Harrisburg and this Sunday’s game against the LA Galaxy II, manager John Wolyniec had to rotate the squad a little. Junior Flemmings got the start in place of Zeiko Lewis, while former NYRB II member and now first teamer Derrick Etienne replaced Florian Valot after being loaned to the team. Justin Bilyeu moved to left back in place of Kevin O’Toole, while Hassan Ndam and Tim Schmoll started at center back. The holding midfield pairing of Dan Metzger and Arun Basuljevic retained their place, as did forward Brandon Allen, midfielder Vincent Bezecourt, right back David Najem, and goalkeeper Evan Louro.
NYRB II was caught on the back foot early as Charlotte had a chance from a counter, but Louro stopped Enzo Martinez.
NYRB II would get the first goal of the game though. Flemmings received the ball and dribbled into the area before toe poking the ball past Cody Mizell.
Allen almost added a second goal moments later, but he couldn’t direct his header from Bezecourt’s free kick on target.
Charlotte continued to press after conceding, positive intent was rewarded with an equalizer. Louro saved Enzo Martinez’s shot but couldn’t hold it and Jorge Herrera tapped in from close range.
Have a look at Herrera's equalizer. pic.twitter.com/3hr1DP5jDJ— Independence (@CLTIndependence) May 11, 2017
NYRB II had a chance to take the lead back a minute after the goal as Etienne created some space, but his pass took Allen too far wide and his shot from a difficult angle was well saved by Mizell.
Charlotte would strike again two minutes before half as a quick free kick caught the Red Bulls defense off guard and Callum Ross’ header beat Louro.
NYRB II did not come out much better in the second half and Louro made a good save to deny Alex Martinez one on one after another free kick caught the defense by surprise.
Charlotte would score a third minutes later through a quick counter. Enzo Martinez had his first shot blocked by Schmoll, but stayed composed and finished the follow-up to give the Independence a 3-1 lead.
NYRB II tried to find a way through as Wolyniec sent on Valot for Allen and Andrew Tinari for Najem. They were caught out once again and David Estrada made no mistake one on one with Louro to extend the lead to 4-1.
Charlotte would add a fifth just before the final whistle as Jaime Siaj scored in his professional debut to give the Independence the 5-1 win.
This may not have been NYRB II’s best team, but the issues on the defense still remain. The defense was supposed to be a work in progress, but one thing that was learned in this game is Schmoll and Ndam shouldn’t both start together. Too many times Charlotte’s speed cause the defense problem and the positioning also made it easier for them to counter attack. Wouldn’t be a surprise to see Wolyniec move Bilyeu back to center back and start O’Toole against LA II this Sunday.
NYRB II’s failure to win on the road is a talking point sure, but how about how many goals the team has conceded this year away from home so far. Granted this game was an outlier, but the fact the II team has conceded 13 goals away from home in four games is concerning. The set piece defending must be better as well, as evidenced by Charlotte’s second goal, the lack of communication and awareness led to a goal right before half which gave Charlotte a lead and momentum.
One positive to take away from this game is the surplus of talent NYRB II has up top. Granted Etienne was loaned from the first team for this game but even without him the forward position is stacked with the likes of Allen, Flemmings, Valot, Lewis and Douglas Martinez. Scoring goals going forward with this team shouldn’t be a problem, but the defensive issues are a cause for concern.
Teams tend to have poor games every once in a while, it will be interesting to see how quick Wolyniec’s men put this game behind them. NYRB II’s next game takes place at Red Bull Arena against LA Galaxy II, on Sunday, May 14, at 9:00 PM.