New York Red Bulls II are riding high heading into their third clash of the season against Bethlehem Steel FC.
The Baby Bulls are coming off two back to back routings of Atlanta United 2 and Richmond Kickers by an aggregate total of 11-1. The goals are flowing in for John Wolyniec’s side who lead USL in goals scored with 41 through 19 games played. When asked about his team’s goal scoring, Wolyniec was optimistic the momentum could continue,
Is it a goal to just score that many goals? Not really, but certainly that’s something that comes from our style of play and the way we coach and the way our players are able to put attacking plays together. Again, hopefully we keep it going and a lot of times success attacking-wise can have a momentum to it and a contagion to it, so it seems like everybody’s kind of getting in on it which is great so see.”
Despite the Red Bulls’ run of form, The Steel are a team they historically struggle against. NYRB II hasn’t beaten the Steel since 2016. Last season the Steel knocked off the Red Bulls twice by the scoreline of 2-0. And so far in 2018 the Steel still boast the upper hand, winning 3-0 win in May and coming back for a 2-2 draw in late June. At training Monday, John Wolyniec offered insight into their previous troubles against the Steel,
Yeah, I mean it’s always hard to say. I think some of it has to do with that they have some good individual players on the ball so sometimes they can expose us in some 1v1 situations. Some of it is just that we haven’t played some of our best soccer against them. Yeah, but obviously it’s an important game for us so hopefully we turn that around and find a result.”
This will be the last meeting between the two in 2018 and both teams will be hungry to pick up points in a tight USL Eastern Conference. NYRB II currently sit in 6th place on 28 points, while the Steel occupy 11th place on 24 points. Every game is a chance to edge up in the standings with just 9 points separating 4th and 13th place.
Players to Watch
Against Richmond last Friday, Jared Stroud was on fire recording his first goal and hat-trick all within the same game. His first goal actually got on SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays albeit for comical reasons, but the goal shows his willingness to press in all areas of the field.
Stroud is not particularly known for his goal scoring, but more for his facilitation. Assisting isn’t new for Stroud, he currently holds the program record at Colgate University for all-time assists and assists in a single season. Stroud is currently tied for 4th on the assist leaderboard in USL, but what makes that statistic so special is the fact he recorded 8-10 less starts and 500-700 less minutes than the 3 players ahead of him.
In 11 appearances, Herbers scored 5 goals making him the Steel’s leading goal scorer. Herbers scored a goal in the Red Bulls’ first loss of the season to the Steel. On June 30th, the German midfielder scored and had 2 assists vs Charlotte Independence then recorded a brace one week later against Penn FC. NYRB II’s defense continues to be leaky having allowed the 8th most goals in USL so Herbers and company have a chance to knock them of their 3 game unbeaten run.
Photo by Bill Twomey Photography