One of my favorite things to do in the offseason is to play GM and try to project how the roster will be turned over, as is the yearly tradition at New York Red Bulls II. Last year 5 players had their options exercised 2 guys who were NYRBII regular on the first team were cut and two NYRBII regulars who contracts expired were promoted. I didn’t make full predictions last offseason but I got some things very wrong.
Being the GM: Predicting the future of NYRBII Roster
Didn't see that at first. I would be fine with valot moving on personally
— Eric Friedlander (@Efried97) December 1, 2017
In addition to that horrible take, I was sure Arun Basuljevic would get another year with NYRBII. It wasn’t all bad in the offseason for me so as proof that I may have some idea what I’m talking about I present one last tweet.
If Brian White is available when the Red Bull's draft I would be shocked if they didn't take him https://t.co/6uu0HcSlWi
— Eric Friedlander (@Efried97) October 10, 2017
For the purpose of this article, I will not be including players who made first-team appearances in the second half of the season. This means guys like Cristian Casseres Jr. and Brian White will not be included as they have already been promoted.
However, guys like Hassan Ndam and Ethan Kutler will be. I have also included guys on first team contracts who only played with NYRBII like Kevin Politz who could be cut from the first team but stay with NYRBII. While these are ultimately my opinions I did try to think from the perspective of the club.
Despite only arriving midseason, Yanes has quickly earned a starting spot. He started as a right-back but despite being right-footed has looked very natural at the left-back position his down the stretch. He is a strong defender who possesses the ability to join in the attack. With rumors of Amir Murillo leaving and depth at the outside back already being thin promoting Yanes and giving him a shot to be a versatile depth option makes a lot of sense.
Hassan is technically a first team player however he has spent the majority of his two seasons with the second team. Hassan made huge leaps this year and his ceiling is still very high. He spends most of his time next year with the first team only spending time with NYRBII when he needs fitness. This is contingent on the future of Collin, Parker, and Escobar
Stroud is on the bubble not due to his play but due to the numbers game. For me, he has been the best player on NYRBII, however, there is a lot of good young talent at the wing position. On top of that, it’s a position the organization has been willing to fill on the international market with Dani Royer and rumors about Nacho Pusseto. Stroud biggest weakness is he doesn’t have elite speed so another year and a move to a central attacking mid role could minimize the weakness while still taking advantage of his craftiness and vision around the box. If I was in charge Jared has earned a first team call up and should be promoted. He finds a way to make a difference at every level I’ve seen him play at.
It took a while for Tom to get going playing behind both Brian White and battling some early injuries. Once he did get going he was electric. He has got great speed and the ability to finish in multiple ways. 8 goals and 2 assists in the regular season is a really good return considering many of his 23 appearances came off the bench. Tom deserves a chance to be a first choice striker and show what he can do.
Kevin is technically on a first-team deal however he has spent the entire year with NYRBII. It has been an up and down year for Kevin, however, he has shown improvement over the year as noted by Liam Pettit. He has also flashed the potential that earned him a Homegrown deal. He has good feet and I love how he looks to play fast and looks to hit line breaking passes. History tells us that center backs usually get some time at NYRBII and only the truly poor ones get cut. Politz is hg and has been good enough to get a shot to be the number 1 from the start.
Chris Lema surprised me this year. I did not think he would be a good fit for the system. He was a willing passer and an even more willing tackler. With room opening up on the first team and no clear-cut replacements who are seniors in college, I think Chris Lema will get another year. The one thing that could change the math is the signing of Jean Christophe Koffi. This is more competition and not a great sign for Lema.
Steven was the first person to sign this offseason however he is in a similar spot as Chris Lema. He was solid but not stand out as he battled some injuries. However, spots should be open. Koffi addition could also change the math here. However, I do believe Echevaria gets another year.
While he has made his first-team debut he is still an NYRBII guy in my eyes. This is an easy one he will be back next year
For me, he has done enough to get another shot. He will have to compete with some talented outside backs coming through the academy.
Scott Levene & Evan Louro
Not much to say about these two. Evan should have another year as the number 1. Levene backs him up again if he wants to come back.
Mid-season I had him on my cut list. He has had a strong second half and moved on to the bubble for me. However, I do lean to him being a part of the churn. For me, he just doesn’t bring enough to be a first-team contributor. He is also only in his first year which could lead to him getting one more shot
The ultimate toss-up. We have not seen him play all year. However, he left college two years early to join this team. Last year he was under contract when cuts were made so this is probably an option year for him if he is on a 2+2 contract. Personally, I would love to see what a healthy Lombard can do.
This is a tough one because I at one point was thinking he would be a great replacement for Florian Valot on the first team. However, Stroud emergence, options in college, first team depth puts him on the bubble. It would love to see Moreno back but the churn can be ruthless. I think it is 50/50 and I have no good read one way or the other.
I think he comes back. However, he is an international on a first-team deal so it could easily go both ways. The 3 game suspension at the end of the season doesn’t help his cause.
Tinari has been a great player for NYRBII however, at the end of year 2, I don’t see him as a first team player. He is a great presser which has lead to much of his offense this year. The problem is what role he fills. He has mostly played as an attacking mid this year but he is not better than Bezecourt or Kaku there and with only 3 assists this season I don’t think he is creative enough to play there for the first team.
As a center mid or central defensive mid he may be a better fit but in my opinion, he is not better than Cristian Casseres, Sean Davis, or Mark Rzatkowski, assuming he is back. He may not be better than Echevarria or Lema there either plus the signing of Jean Christophe Koffi. He has done everything he can with NYRBII but with no good path to the first team, his contract expires and the team moves on.
Niko De Vera
Niko has had good games and many bad games. He has some good tools but I don’t think he did enough to get a second year. Couple this with options in the academy and graduating seniors there is no room for Niko.
He got his first-team chances and did ok however those probably don’t ever come if Kyle Duncan is healthy. He has moments where he unleashes absolute rockets into the back of the net but that is not enough considering he is an outside back.
Even at USL level, it seems like he is playing to slow at times and his positioning leaves much to be desired. In the last game of the regular season, Heath Pearce was very critical of his overall play in the home finale. Throughout the playoffs, he has been the weakest link on the backline.
I was high on Scarlett last year and I know the team liked what they saw as well. Year 2 was not as good. He did battle injuries this year, however, I think NYRBII will look in a different direction.
Just 17 games into his sophomore season, Omir Fernandez has 11 goals and 6 assists on the number 1 team in the country. This is stellar output and could earn him a Homegrown deal. This may not be the season it happens but I sure hope it is. The kid is full of talent and confidence and has a bright future.
Marcelo should be a homegrown signing. He could keep Yanes from getting a promotion but he probably sees time at NYRBII first. Good with both feet he would lock down one of the outside back spots. The only question here is if he signs. He didn’t play PDL last summer and his prospects have seemed to cool a bit after being linked to a homegrown deal two years ago
The left back/leftwinger has been strong for the academy and reclassified for a reason. He has made the bench a few times down the stretch. Juleau would be a good developmental signing and has a nice ceiling at left back.
Murphy looked solid when he got chances with NYRBII. From what I saw of him at Clemson he is being wasted. If a pro opportunity with the Red Bull’s is an option I think he should take it. The signing of Murphy could impact what happens to Echevarria and Lema