New York Red Bulls II continued their playoff push as they defeated Pittsburgh Riverhounds 2-0 on Saturday.
Manager John Wolyniec made one change to the squad that were defeated by FC Cincinnati. Evan Louro replaced Rafael Diaz in net, while the back four of David Najem, Hassan Ndam, Jordan Scarlett and Noah Powder remained the same. Andrew Tinari and Dan Metzger occupied the holding midfield once again. The front four of Florian Valot, Vincent Bezecourt, Junior Flemmings and Stefano Bonomo remained the same for the third match in a row.
NYRB II started out the game well and had a good chance from Flemmings cross but no one could get on the end of it.
Flemmings continued to be active in NYRB II’s attack and forced a save from Pittsburgh keeper Matt Perrella.
The pressure finally paid off in the 26th minute as NYRB II went ahead. Bezecourt swung in a corner and it deflected off a Pittsburgh player past Perrella to give NYRB II the lead.
NYRB II continued to control the game but were almost caught out as Ndam made a big tackle to deny Kenroy Howell a chance.
NYRB II had two good chances to double their advantage before half when Bonomo played in Flemmings but his shot only found the side netting. Minutes later Najem cut inside and curled one that saved by Perrella.
Pittsburgh came out the better side early on in the second half and Scarlett blocked a good chance from Corey Hertzog.
Wolyniec tried to inject some life into the team as he sent on Douglas Martinez and Dilly Duka for Bonomo and Flemmings.
NYRB II tried to find a second goal and Metzger came close with a long range blast, but Perrella made a great save to deny him.
Duka had a golden chance to seal the game as he was played in by Martinez, but he couldn’t get on the end of the cross.
Duka again had a chance to seal it in the 92nd minute but he dragged his shot wide after being played in at the top of the box by Martinez.
Duka would atone for his missed chances as he stole the ball and played in Valot who had an easy tap in to give NYRB II a 2-0 lead.
NYRB II would see the rest of the game out and win their final home game of the season.
Wolyniec was happy with how the squad played in their final home game.
The message was we have three games on the road left so this was a big game for us, a big chance for us to get three points. Bit of the pressure building with the playoffs coming and us sitting right outside. Great effort from our guys we really went after it in a good way. Obviously the first half was much better than the second but in a lot of ways a good effort. Obviously we figured out how to win a to home, now the challenge to see how many points we can get out of three road games.
Despite their struggles on the road and three road games to end the season, Wolyniec feels confident in the team.
Sometimes a couple of results go a certain way or plays go a certain way and it erodes your confidence a little bit. I have been pretty happy with our performances on the road especially over the last couple months. From my eyes, performance wise the way we go after games we deserve more points than we’ve gotten. The obvious answer is set pieces and closing out games but I (think) we’ve made strides in that area and shown it at home. Going to three tough places to see if we can pull some results is going to be a challenge but the way we’re playing I feel pretty confident.
NYRB II will look to continue their impressive form when they travel to take on Tampa Bay Rowdies. The game will take place Wednesday, October 3, at 7:30 pm.