New York Red Bulls II are one game win from a third straight USL Eastern Conference Finals trip, but they will face a tough task traveling to Nippert Stadium to play FC Cincinnati.
Preview: NYRB II travel to Cincinnati with revenge on the mind
For John Wolyniec and NYRB II the situation is familiar to last year, they defeated Charleston Battery in the first round and now travel again to face a tough opposition in the road. Tom Barlow continued his run of form with another goal in the win over the Battery and should be the man to the lead the line. Amando Moreno and Jared Stroud put in good shifts as well, with Moreno supplying the diagonal ball for the goal.
It will be interesting to see whether Wolyniec starts Jose Aguinaga or Andrew Tinari in the CAM role, while the other should play alongside Chris Lema in the midfield. The defense has continued to play well as they limited Charleston’s chances and Evan Louro came up with some big saves to preserve the win. They will be tested against a dangerous Cincinnati attack and will have to be at their best for NYRB II to have a chance at a win.
FC Cincinnati had it all going for them this year. They finished in first place in the Eastern Conference with ease, broke their own attendance record and will be going to MLS next year. However, despite having the number one seed they faced a tough Nashville SC team that almost eliminated them in the first round. Despite FC Cincinnati’s attacking prowess they found it difficult to break down Nashville and didn’t manage a goal through 90 minutes. Corben Bone did manage to break the tie in extra time, but Nashville equalized shortly after that and the game went to penalties where Cincinnati won. Cincinnati only lost two games at Nippert Stadium this year (12-2-3 record) in league play with their last loss coming back in May to Louisville City.
FC CIncinnati defeated NYRBII twice in the regular season, both at home and on the road. Wolyniec’s men were in control of the first game and could have went up 2-0, but Brian White missed a penalty and FC Cincinnati were able to capitalize on some poor defending to grab a 2-1 win. At Nippert Stadium, FC Cincinnati scored from two set pieces and NYRB II were unable to find an equalizer late on.
Players to Watch
Jared Stroud- He didn’t have his best game against Charleston and will feel that he should have done better with his chances. The forward hit the crossbar twice and couldn’t convert a one v one with the Charleston keeper. There hasn’t been a player who has impacted the team more in the second half of the season for NYRB II and if the former Colgate man has a strong performance, NYRB II should come out with a win.
Emmanuel Ledesma- The forward has easily been FC Cincinnati’s best player on the year with 16 goals and 16 assists he can really do it all. Ledesma scored against NYRB II in the first meeting between these two teams with a brilliantly curled effort into the far corner to tie the game. While Cincinnati do have other attacking options such as Fanendo Adi, Corben Bone and Danny Konig, it’s Ledesma that presents the most danger for NYRB II.
Photo by Bill Toomey Photography