New York Red Bulls II suffered their third defeat in three games this week with a 3-2 loss to Charlotte Independence on Saturday.
With manager John Wolyniec rotating his squad on Wednesday against Harrisburg he made several changes to the team in this game. Evan Louro started in place of Rafael Diaz in goal while Hassan Ndam replaced Tim Schmoll alongside David Abidor at center back. New signee Noah Powder started his first game for the team at right back with David Najem on the left. Dan Metzger and Arun Basuljevic reformed their partnership in the midfield. The front four had two changes to it with Vincent Bezecourt and Derrick Etienne coming back into the team; Douglas Martinez and Florian Valot retained their spots.
NYRB II started off the game positively and could have been ahead twice inside 20 minutes. Bezecourt found Martinez on the counter and put him through on goal but his attempt was deflected over the bar by Charlotte keeper Cody Mizell.
On the ensuing corner after playing it short, Bezecourt’s low cross found Etienne, but his attempt went just wide of the post.
Despite NYRB II’s positive start they would concede the first goal of the game. After a giveaway by the defense, Ndam fouled Joel Johnson at the top of the box. Jorge Herrera stepped up and curled the free kick over the wall and left Louro no chance to give Charlotte the lead.
NYRB II continued to push forward and Valot had an excellent chance to tie the game before half as he had a free header from Bezecourt’s free kick, but the midfielder headed straight at Mizell.
Charlotte would once again make NYRB II pay for their missed opportunities and doubled their lead just before the half. Johnson sent a low cross into the box and it was deflected by Ndam past Louro to give the visitors a 2-0 lead.
NYRB II tried to find an answer at the beginning of the second half, but found themselves down 3-0 in the 53rd minute. After some sloppy play from a set piece by NYRB II in the attacking half, Charlotte countered quickly and Herrera pulled back for Enzo Martinez and he made no mistake.
Wolyniec sent on Junior Flemmings and Zaire Bartley for Basuljevic and Etienne. Bartley a Red Bulls U-18 player made his second appearance this season for the team.
NYRB II tried to find a way through and Valot just missed again after Najem’s cross found his head, but it went over the bar.
Six minutes later NYRB II finally found a breakthrough and it came from a good individual effort. Najem picked up the ball from a throw-in and cut inside the area and curled his shot past Mizell for his first goal of the season.
NYRB II wouldn’t have to wait long to cut the lead to one as they added a second goal just three minutes later. Bezecourt’s corner found the head of Flemmings and his header crossed over the line.
NYRB II pushed for an equalizer late on, but could not find one and dropped their third game in a row despite the comeback attempt.
Wolyniec said that there is pressure to get points now with the team’s position in the standings, but he is also focused on them improving as well.
I didn't want to harp on that in pregame but I talked about it a little bit that we need to start getting points. Obviously, this game comes at a tough time against a team that is flying right now. For us to play them in the third game in a week at home, makes these three points hard but we needed them. We need points and we got to find a way to get points. I'm more concerned with us getting better and not making mistakes, and learning as we go. I'm more concerned with a little bit of plateauing in the development than points.
Wolyniec said despite the team continuing to make mistakes one positive is that the keep fighting in these games.
You can always see positives and negatives. The negative is we seem to keep making mistakes. The positive is that we keep fighting and we always seem to have better second halves. Some of that is due to us going down and the other team being content to be ahead, but we keep fighting and we saw some of that today. We really put a lot into the second half. There were a lot of loose ends. The first goal that we get, I'm not sure was something came from us dominating the game. Having said that, the reaction after the goal was pretty good and we started to get a grip on the game. They're (Charlotte) a good team so it was a tough challenge. It was a clash of styles and their style prevailed today.
Powder gave some of his thoughts of his debut and how the game went as a whole.
Good to be back with my home team. I've been with the team for a while. It's a great family to welcome me back. In the game, I thought we started off slow. We could have played a little better on fluidity on pressing and our system. But as the game went on we, lifted our heads, fought through, made some changes and that's it.
NYRB II will look to end their three game skid in their next game against Toronto FC II. The game will take place at Montclair St. University on Friday, July 21, at 7:00 pm.