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Three Thoughts: NYRB II open the season with a 2-1 win over Toronto FC II

Three thoughts from NYRB II season opener

MLS: Portland Timbers at New York Red Bulls Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Just like everyone drew it up right? Andrew Tinari scoring both goals, Evan Louro saving a penalty, and New York Red Bulls II having a total of 31 shots but only managing 2 goals. Hey a win is a win and considering NYRB II hadn’t won a home opener in their three year history before today, manager John Wolyniec and company will take it. There were both positives and negatives to take away from the match, but I’ll talk about the positives first starting with…

  1. The Newcomers Impress

There are only eight players listed on NYRB II’s roster that were apart of the team that made the Eastern Conference Finals last year. Of those eight players, six of them were in the in the eighteen picked for the match and five of them started, so there were lots of new faces. Brian White who was NYRB’s first round pick of 2018 MLS SuperDraft got the start up top and did have plenty of chances but couldn’t find the back of the net. Despite that I was impressed with White’s ability to link up with the trio of Mines, Valot and Tinari (who was making his first start in the number “10 role). The goals will come for White, once he gets the first one off his back I think we’ll see many more.

Speaking of SuperDraft picks NYRB’s second round pick Niko De Vera had an impressive game in my opinion. He provided a constant outlet down the left hand side for NYRB II and he put in some nice crosses as well. I thought his positioning for the most part was good, although they were times he was caught up field but that will improve will more game experience. If he settles in as he did in this game that would be big for RB2 going forward.

Tommy Redding may have given away a penalty in this game, but I wouldn’t let that get in the way of his performance. His distribution was very good as he completed 81% of his passes and although there were moments where he and Jordan Scarlett didn’t seem on the same page I thought they did a decent job of limiting Toronto FC II’s chances. The defense seemed to improve after Kevin Politz came on for Hassan Ndam. Politz looked assured and comfortable in his defending and I thought his decision making was very good as he seemed to grow into the game the later it went on.

I thought Steven Echeverria had a solid game as well playing in the holding midfield position, for the most part he didn’t allow TFCII’s midfield to do much through the middle. His distribution to his teammates was very good as he created four chances and completed 88% of his passes.

Despite the showing of the newcomers RB2 would’ve probably lost this game if it wasn’t for

2. Evan Louro Comes Up Big Again

One of the many players that was a key in RB2’s run to the Eastern Conference Finals last year, Louro picked up right where he left off at the end of last year with an impressive game. He only made three saves in this game, but they were all huge including Ben Spencer’s penalty which tilted the momentum in favor of NYRB II. Louro seems to be gaining more confidence with each game and should be a vital part of NYRB II this season. If he can continue to grow and put in performances like this, he could be on his way to the first team sooner rather than later.

While the Newcomers and Louro did play well there were some things NYRB II need to work on such as

3. Lack of finishing and defensive mistakes

They had 31 shots this game and only two of them managed to find the back. I had doubts whether the formation which technically was a 3-3-3-1 would limit the amount of chances they would create, but they were able to create plenty of them. Tinari did seem to struggle to find himself in the first half while Valot and Mines looked dangerous on the ball. I might be nitpicking here but I feel they could have put at least four or five goals past TFCII this game and made their job a lot easier. Whether it was poor decision making or lack of confidence in front of goal NYRB II will have to focus on cleaning that up to be able to beat the better teams.

As for the defending I touched on it a little how I thought they did a decent job preventing a lot of chances for TFCII, but the chances they allowed were easily preventable. Last year this team was beat a lot by the long ball over the top and it’s no coincidence that two of Toronto’s big chances in the game came off that. While TFCII didn’t take advantage of the mistakes today, other teams in the league will so it’s something for NYRB II to work on going forward.

NYRB II will look to continue their streak next week when they travel to Atlanta to take on Atlanta United 2. The game will take place on Saturday, March 24, at 7:00 pm.