Who: NYRB II vs FC Cincinnati
Where: Red Bull Arena
When: Saturday, June 2 at 1:00 pm
Thirteen points, 20 goals. Two of the stats that pop out when you look up what these teams have done in the USL thus far.
New York Red Bulls II have earned 13 out of a possible 15 points at home thus far while FC Cincinnati have earned 13 out of a possible 18 points on the road. While these two teams might be separated in the standings by three points, they are the two best attacking teams in the Eastern Conference and have scored 20 goals each on the season. This should be a game full of action as it was when these two teams met last year with NYRB II winning the game at Montclair State University 4-0 while Cincinnati won 4-2 at Nippert Stadium.
Anyway let’s get into the preview:
NYRB II’s Back on Track?
Second half team. It’s been the story of John Wolyniec’s team so far this season. NYRB II have outscored opponents 17 to 5 in the second half of games, which coincidentally that also happens to be their goals for vs goals against at home this season as well. No one is really sure what has made this team come alive in the second half this season compared to the first, it could be a few minor tweaks at halftime or the fact they have worn down teams with their press. Although, it is worth noting at home they have put together some good first half performances, but without the end product.
Wolyniec opted to make some changes to his team last weekend against Indy Eleven as he moved Andrew Tinari back in behind the front three, started Brian White up top and Kevin Politz next to Hassan Ndam in defense. The changes payed off big time, White’s goal started the comeback, Tinari caused problems for Indy’s defense and Politz put in a good shift next Ndam, something the backline needed. Not to mention Cristian Cásseres returned to the starting lineup and had a man of the match performance in the midfield. What can’t be underestimated about this team is their depth which they did not have the luxury of last season. Both Tom Barlow and Amando Moreno were able to grab goals off the bench last week and the midfield and defensive positions are a constant battle from week to week. Worth nothing that NYRB II could be without Ndam and Cásseres this week, as he might be called up to the first team with Tyler Adams and Tim Parker being called up to the United States Men’s National Team.
The Dream Becomes a Reality for FC Cincinnati
First thing is first, congratulations to FC Cincinnati on becoming the newest addition to MLS next year. All the hard work the organization, the club and the fans have put into showing they were ready to go to the next level, it is well deserved. As for their season so far it’s been the complete opposite of last year where they were a very good team at home (8-2-6) compared to mediocre on the road (4-8-4). This year they have a record of 4-1-1 on the road while at home they are 2-1-2. This team is a strong up front and are led by Emmanuel Ledesma who leads the USL in assists with 7. The forward also has 4 goals on the season which is tied with Danni Konig for the team lead. Alan Koch’s men also have two danger men in the midfield in Corben Bone and Kenny Walker that NYRB II will have to prepare for.
What it Comes Down To
This game between these two teams will come down to who wins the battle in the midfield. Both teams are strong going forward but do have some questions in their defense. The biggest question for FC Cincinnati is will they be able to take control of NYRB II’s slow start, if they can it could be a rough day for Wolyniec’s men. For NYRB II they have stuck to their game plan at home so far this season and have overpowered teams in the second half and if they’re able to contain FC Cincinnati expect another home win. Whatever the case this game like last year’s should provide plenty of goals.