The New York Red Bulls II struggle on the road. Despite better results in 2018 than 2017, points are hard to come by for the young club away from MSU Soccer Park. That means that results at home are at a premium, especially in the tightly packed USL standings.
NYRBII look to continue their home form
The Red Bulls have done their part at home in 2018, putting up a fantastic 8-2-1 mark so far. With twelve games remaining this season, the Red Bulls have just six home games left on the schedule. Head coach John Wolyniec says maximizing points for each home game is the goal.
“Like I said to the group last time, any time you have a few home games in a row it’s a time to gain points,” said Wolyniec from practice this week. “So we’re going to have a high standard in that sense. We’re going to look to get as many points as we can and obviously that starts with gathering up wins. We’ve been really good at home, I hope that continues, and obviously I could see us in the fight with Penn in the table, so it’s important for us to keep distance between us and them as we start to head towards the end of the year.”
The Red Bulls play their next three games at MSU Soccer Park, their second three game home stand this season. In their last extended stay at home, the NYRBII posted a 3-0-0 mark with a +10 goal differential. The difference in form is remarkable. On the road, the Red Bulls average one goal per game. At home, they average 3 goals per game. NYRBII midfielder Andrew Tinari thinks it comes down to execution and attitude.
“We’re at home, so we got to keep a clean sheet,” said Tinari from practice this week. “We want to win every game at home and keep a clean sheet every time we go out. As an away game last week we played Tampa, we tied, we knew we should have gotten the better of the game, but we just got to stay confident and keep going into it with a positive attitude.”
For Wolyniec, comfort and confidence play a big role.
“I think it’s a comfort thing. Guys feel comfortable there, we’ve had success, so that breeds success,” said Wolyniec. “The confidence level that we have going into games at home seems to be a notch higher and that leads to us having success. We’ve done a really good job of getting an edge on teams and then continuing to push and not being content with being up by a goal or two. We preach that we need to keep going, keep pushing, and keep being aggressive and the guys respond to that really well, so I think that’s been the biggest reason.”
Penn FC might be just what the doctor ordered. The rebranded Harrisburg City Islanders are experiencing growing pains in their inaugural season. They currently sit in 13th place, comfortably above the cellar dwellars, but they struggle just the same. Penn FC rank 22nd in the league in goals scored, and 17th in the league in goals conceded. The mediocrity translates to the standings, and the playoffs look out of reach without serious course correction.
All of those markers could spell trap game for NYRBII, but the team is aware of the dangers.
“Penn’s an interesting team,” said Tinari. “They’re not doing as well this year, but you never know what you’re going to get with them, so it’s finding different spaces to go forward and be helpful if I’m playing in the ten role, be helpful with the forwards getting off the shoulders of forwards and going forward, and trying to get shots off and creating opportunities.”
Photo by Bill Twomey Photography