Well that was a fun win.
It will be repeated many times this year that results do not matter, but, man, this was a great game for NYRB II from start to finish. Right after the initial whistle Abang and Obekop rushed TFC II's center backs forcing a back pass to the keeper. That intensity did not let up for 75% of the match, and the result reflected that.
NYRB II's quality looked vastly improved from last week, the reason being from the starting lineup:
Nine of the starting XI for NYRB II were loaned players from the MLS club. Of the two USL players in the squad, Colin Heffron was in the USL team of the week last week. So its safe to say this was a bolstered squad.
The high pressure system that Jesse Marsch is trying to implement for the Senior Team was in full force today. There were only two major stretches for Toronto FC II kept possession in the Red Bulls defensive third, by my recollection. Around 30 minutes into the match TFC II had a few chances, and the first 15-20 minutes coming out of the second half were the only times TFC II felt in control. Its no surprise the latter section is where TFC II scored its only goal of the match, an own goal off Karl Ouimette that came off a blown Connor Lade clearance.
Most of the time you could see the Red Bulls back line well into TFC II territory, and even when the opponents had some prolonged pressure, our counter attack drew many chances. Pushing high and sticking to our strengths brought forth four goals from a squad that looked like it was just getting its feet wet last week.
The first goal came from Anatole Abang. The 18 year old Cameroonian import scored a lovely goal, after a great pass from homegrown player Sean Davis.
That is the first North American professional goal for Abang. Expect many more as the season comes.
As the game wore on Shawn McClaws did his best Jan-Aage-Fjoertoft to save Frankfurt and scored a wonderful stepover goal.
As the second half wore on, Colin Heffron picked up a knock, which brought Dan Metzger into the game and shifted Connor Lade into the left back role. Metzger was a RB Academy player, who turned down a homegrown contract and entered the 2015 MLS Superdraft. He went to DC, did not make the squad and is now back in the Red Bulls system. Welcome back, Dan.
Academy player Derrick Etienne entered the game in the second half for Manolo Sanchez, and now USL-contracted former academy player Tyler Adams came on late in the game. Even with a ton of MLS rostered players the kids are getting time.
Anatole Abang continued to have chances as the match kept putting the ball on net. In the second half, he drew a PK after being brought down in the box from on a sublime pass from Etienne, which gave him a clear chance on goal. Seriously this pass is unreal:
I want to marry that pass. Marius Obekop stepped up and buried the penalty.
Late in the game, after showing off some nifty moves and playing well in the midfield for 85+ minutes, Leo Stolz buried a goal to make up for the missed penalty against Rochester. Stolz still needs some seasoning, but he'll get some MLS playing time sooner rather than later the way he has played for NYRB II, especially if Kljestan is playing for the US during the Gold Cup.
Overall a fantastic showing from NYRB II, with more than a few players standing out:
Derrick Etienne doesn't look out of place in USL. He's come on in around the 60th minute both matches and made a huge impact each time. I would love for him to sign a contract similar to Tyler Adams. He doesn't need to go to UVA for seasoning.
Anatole Abang: First goal for the youngster, who was relentless in trying to bag a brace. He's going to fit in Jesse Marsch's system and should be in the team's 18 each week.
Leo Stolz: Great goal at the end of the game. Looked real sharp so far at CAM for RBNY II. I can see why the Red Bulls were so happy to draft him.
Sean Davis: The passes into the box were great, and he should have had a goal. If Dax or Felipe ever pick up a knock, Davis should ease right in.
Shawn McClaws: Can you do that stepover for the Senior Team now?
Marius Obekop: You did not deserve the beating Toronto FC II gave you. Fun 85 minutes for the raw Cameroonian. USL is right where he needs to be to take that next step he started to show in preseason.
The next USL match will be on Apr. 12 at 4:00 pm against the Wilmington Hammerheads, otherwise known as the USL affiliate of NYCFC. The rivalry is real and will be first contested in USL. Tickets are only $10.