New York Red Bulls II ended their three game losing streak with a 2-1 hard fought win over first place Charleston Battery on Sunday.
Manager John Wolyniec opted to make several changes from the team he selected against Ottawa Fury. Ryan Meara started in goal replacing Evan Louro; David Abidor replacing Justin Bilyeu at center back alongside Hassan Ndam; David Najem and Kevin O’Toole maintained their spots at right and left back. Andrew Tinari made his first start in the defensive midfield as he replaced Dan Metzger, playing alongside Arun Basuljevic. Derrick Etienne replaced Zeiko Lewis on the flank with Junior Flemmings and Vincent Bezecourt remaining in the team. Brandon Allen started once again as the lone striker.
NYRB II started off positively and Bezecourt came close in the fifth minute as his free kick forced a diving save from Charleston goalkeeper Odisnel Cooper.
NYRB II controlled most of the first half with the trio of Bezecourt, Etienne and Allen creating some good chances for one another. Bezecourt did have the ball in the back of the net at one point, but he was whistled for offside.
36' - Through ball from Tinari nearly finds Bezecourt in the box, but offside flag is up.— NYRB II (@NYRBII) May 28, 2017
Despite the fact NYRB II controlled most of the half , they conceded just before the end of it. Ndam tripped up Dante Marini just outside the box and Justin Portillo struck the free kick perfectly into the top corner to give Charleston the lead.
NYRB II came out just as good at the start of the second half as they did the first and should have equalized in the 51st minute. O’Toole’s through ball found Etienne whose cross was punched out right to Bezecourt, but he fired his shot over.
Two minutes later, NYRB II would find their equalizer. Bezecourt’s corner found Flemmings and his header flew into the corner of the net.
Flemmings was heavily involved in the second half compared to the first and attributed Wolyniec’s halftime talk for his involvement.
I knew their left back from Toronto. I was playing against him and he’s pretty athletic but slow on the turn, so I went in at halftime and John (Wolyniec) was like ‘ Junior, you gotta go after this guy’ so then I knew that you know when I got it next I had to go after him and he started backing up and we started to get a lot more opportunities.
Charleston stepped up the pressure after the goal and a key block from Ndam prevented a good chance. Substitute Maikel Chang had gotten around O’Toole and squared to Miles Robinson but Ndam got in the way.
62' - Ndam with a clutch clearance to keep one away from danger!— NYRB II (@NYRBII) May 28, 2017
The Red Bulls would respond after a high boot from Marini on Najem gave NYRB II a free kick in a dangerous area. Bezecourt’s attempt did get through the wall, but it was right at Cooper.
69' - Bezecourt's attempt sneaks through the wall, but right at Cooper for the save.— NYRB II (@NYRBII) May 28, 2017
NYRB II would take the lead in the in the 75th minute and it would once again come from a set piece. Etienne took the free kick instead of Bezecourt and curled it beautifully into the top left corner for his first goal of the 2017 season.
Etienne said getting his first goal of the season was a big weight off his shoulders and hopes it leads to more.
It’s a big weight off my shoulders just to see the ball hit the back of the net. It’s going to give me a lot more confidence and hopefully I’ll be able to convert the rest of the chances I’m able to create.
NYRB II sent on Bilyeu and Florian Valot to help kill off the game.
Meara did have to be alert in the 84th minute when substitute Romario Williams created some space in the box, but he stopped the striker’s shot.
84' - Meara with the save off a a Williams strike straight to his chest!— NYRB II (@NYRBII) May 28, 2017
Charleston was unable to find an equalizer and the NYRB II came away with the 2-1 win.
Wolyniec was happy with how his team played against a tough and organized Charleston opposition.
I tried to prepare our guys to be positive because I know Charleston can be frustrating to play against. There’s a reason they have a lot of points, there’s a reason why they haven’t given up a ton of goals. They’re organized, they defend and they compete. I think the start of the game was good especially our counterpesss and we were able to show some energy and fight, putting some plays together, not a lot came from it but it’s not like we had control of the game and then somewhere in there we started to lose control and from there it quickly went to really bad. You know our guys have to be a bit more determined and resolute to stay with what we do, to have a bit more faith in it and each other and not let one of two plays that don’t go our way kind of affect us.
Wolyniec was also full of praise for Tinari who played a very good game in the defensive midfield.
I thought he was very good. You can see he’s very good on the ball, covers ground, has a little bit of life to him. You know it’s definitely a hard day for him because hasn’t seen 90 (minutes) in a long time, no, maybe all year. I give him a lot of credit; you know with us, it’s a constant change. We’ve used him a bit at outside back and that’s not really his position, he’s more of a six. I think that’s why he had a good game today and he sensed he had an opportunity to show and we’ll see going forward.
Derrick Etienne said that the mentality of coming off back-to-back losses motivated the team for the game.
I think our mentality coming off back-to-back losses was we didn’t want to lose another game at home, definitely. It was a little bit extra knowing they are top of the east so I think we came out here looking for a battle and we focused a lot on counterpressing and getting it corrected so I felt like it was a big part of our game. It kind of slipped away from us at times during the game but I felt like we were able to come back in and get the game back on our terms and I think that set-up how our goals went.
NYRB II travels to Richmond next weekend for a rematch with the Richmond Kickers, who they defeated 1-0 back in April. The game will be on Saturday, June 3, at 7:00 PM.