New York Red Bulls II dropped their second straight home game on Friday with a 2-0 loss to Bethlehem Steel FC.
Manager John Wolyniec made four changes to the side that lost against Louisville City last weekend. Rafael Diaz started in net after being replaced last game due to an injury in warm-ups. David Abidor started at center back alongside Hassan Ndam, with Justin Bilyeu moving to left back and David Najem to right back. The defensive midfield pairing of Dan Metzger and Arun Basuljevic started once again. Junior Flemmings replaced Zeiko Lewis and Douglas Martinez replaced Brandon Allen up top as the latter started on the bench. Both Vincent Bezecourt and Florian Valot remained in the starting eleven.
NYRB II opened up the game well with the front four combining and Martinez missed the target from a corner after an audacious back heel attempt.
Despite their pressure NYRB II would concede moments later and it would be former New York Red Bull academy product Adam Najem to open the scoring. After receiving a pass from inside the box he cut inside and chipped Diaz to give his team the lead.
NYRB II would continue to pile on the pressure throughout the first half. Bezecourt had a chance after Flemmings cross found its way through, but Bethlehem keeper Jake McGuire stopped his low shot.
Although NYRB II didn’t have too many clear cut chances in the first half, Valot came close to drawing them even five minutes before half. Metzger’s cross found Valot, but his header was tipped onto the bar by McGuire and his follow up was hit into the side netting.
NYRB II came out in the second half and tried to find an equalizer, but went behind 2-0 in the 57th minute and once again Adam Najem was involved. The forward was given too much time and space and chipped the ball over the defense to Santi Moar who finished it past Diaz.
Wolyniec tried to generate something and he sent on Ethan Kutler for Bilyeu.
10 minutes later he would send on Jordan Scarlett for Abidor.
NYRB II almost conceded a third goal after Cory Burke was able to get into a one on one situation with Diaz, but the keeper stood tall.
Things didn’t get much better for NYRB II when Ndam picked up a yellow card for a cynical foul and will miss the next match against Ottawa Fury FC.
Despite controlling the ball for the rest of the half and most of the game NYRB II weren’t able to get one on the score sheet and the full time result went in Bethlehem’s favor.
Despite the loss Wolyniec felt his team played well and needs to find a way to build on some of the things they did in the game.
I mean we certainly took steps looking a little more like we want to look and our style of play and putting a lot of energy into the game, you know in that sense I think we did a lot of good things. We give up a goal early in the game and that certainly changed the way the game was going to go and our response was pretty good and we still got after the game, but obviously couldn't quite break through...once we go down two, it makes it very difficult. Overall, I told the guys that we should feel pretty good about what we put in and now it's just about, looking at some of the details and cleaning up those things, but also gain confidence from this game to say ok, this is who we are, this is how we're going to go about our business.
Wolyniec was also impressed with the front four’s play despite the team not getting a goal.
I mean we don't get a goal so that's difficult, but at the same time I feel like those guys put a lot into the game and pressed and did a lot of the things we asked them to do. You have give Bethlehem credit, they defended well and really made it difficult for those guys. Douglas' (Martinez) first start and he showed a lot; he showed why we were interested in him, some of the good things. Now, it's just can he build off that? Valot is someone that we value a lot, even tonight he gets another chance and just can't quite put it away, maybe he needs a little bit more confidence, Junior (Flemmings) same thing, he has a couple of moments and maybe isn't as quite as aggressive as he normally is, but still puts a lot into the game so again, anytime a team scores an early goal it makes it that much more difficult to get clearer chances.
Bezecourt said that despite creating a lot chances the team needs to improve in order to get results.
We're getting better, we look like us, we look like how we want to be. Now, it's up to us now to fix things and start to score goals and make sure not to cost goals. We got to get back to the shutouts. I think we need to improve and create space for ourselves and be more efficient in the last 30 yards for sure.
NYRB II will look to get back on track next weekend when they travel to take on the Ottawa Fury who defeated them 4-3 in their previous meeting at Montclair St. University. The game will be on Saturday, June 24, at 2:00 pm.