The New York Red Bulls II must navigate a tricky finish on the road to reach the USL Playoffs. NYRBII carry the best home record in the league, but remain winless on the road ahead of a four match road trip.
Shaking road woes key for NYRBII in final stretch
The team remain in 7th place, depending on weekend results, earning 41 points through 29 matches. A measly 8 points came in road matches in 2018 thus far. NYRBII struggled to earn road points in 2017. Sporting a 3-8-5 record last season, NYRBII bucked the trend and won two straight road matches in the playoffs to reach the Eastern Conference Final.
The bottom of the Eastern Conference table is tightly compact. Six points separate seventh and twelfth place. NYRBII sit atop the heap, but facing a difficult road stretch, it is easy to see them slipping down the ladder.
“We’re gonna need points somewhere,” said head coach John Wolyniec following Thursday’s draw. “Clearly it’s a disappointment that we haven’t gotten a win on the road but it’s a good challenge. We got four games on the road against four good teams that are around the playoffs.We’re gonna have to really throw ourselves into games and really try to take points from somebody. ”
Rather than take the doom and gloom view, Wolyniec sees the difficult stretch as a means to challenge his young squad. He wants to put the squad through the ringer, and see what shakes out.
Forged in fire.
“[It’s a] great challenge for us,” said Wolyniec. “That’s what we have this team for. Put young guys into tough games and hopefully they come out better in the end. The challenge has been raised up and i’m excited about that. Hopefully we get to see some special things out of our guys.”
The similarities between 2017 and 2018 are undeniable. The team struggled over two-thirds of the season to find road results both years. In 2017, they shook off their poor road form and nearly made the USL Cup. Wolyniec’s side might do well to revisit last season to find a solution.
“I don’t remember when we got our first win on the road last year but it was near the end of the season,” said Wolyniec. “So in that way similar. This year i think our performance is better but we’ve been a bit unlucky and let some slip. But in a lot of ways you can draw some parallels to last year and no better time for our team to make a turn and to try and move to the end of the season. Looks like we’re going to have to be on the road for the playoffs so its good to have some dress rehearsals.”
Photo by Bill Twomey Photography