New York Red Bulls II will face their first big test of the season on Sunday when they take on Nashville SC at Montclair State University Soccer Park.
The baby bulls had last week off after their impressive opening weekend win against Swope Park Rangers while Nashville lost to St. Louis FC at home last weekend. Both of these teams are famaliar with each other’s style as both of their games last year ended in 1-1 draws. There’s a couple of talking points in this match, but let’s start with.
NYRB II’s First 30 minutes
It’s been a staple of this team’s success these last few years, NYRB II always likes to get on top of teams early with their press. They dominated the first 30 minutes of the game against Swope Park and had a multitude of chances before Tom Barlow was able to grab the first goal of the game
However, they were quite wasteful and should’ve been up by more, manager John Wolyniec didn’t seem overly concerned with it being the first game of the season. Against Nashville though, Wolyniec’s men will have to be more clinical. Speaking of goal scoring, Nashville added some in the offseason which brings up the next talking point.
Nashville’s Front Three
Nashville was one of the lowest scoring teams in the Eastern Conference last season and that had to change, so they brought in the league’s top two scorers from last year. Cameron Lancaster and Daniel Rios combined for 46 goals last year, Lancaster led the league with 26. The team also signed Kharlton Belmar a dangerous winger, that had 10 goals and 6 assists for Swope Park last season.
NYRB II are familiar with Lancaster in particular, the forward had 5 goals in three games against John Wolyniec’s side last year. As for Rios he managed a goal in two games against NYRB II last year, but he is a proven scorer at this level and alongside Lancaster he can’t be overlooked.
NYRB II will also be without defender Allen Yanes due to his international call up with Guatemala and the newly signed Janos Loebe may get his first career start. He will draw a tough task being up against Belmar who has speed and skill on the wing.
While the trio are still working on their chemistry, the three of them are dangerous players that can take over a game and NYRB II’s back line will need to be in sync to prevent them from doing so.
Players to Watch
Cameron Lancaster- With the way NYRB II play it favors teams that are dangerous on the counter and Lancaster is one of those forwards who can time up his runs to perfection. In the game at MSU Soccer Park last year, Lancaster scored a hat trick and was involved in a lot of the chances his team created. The NYRB II back line must know where he is at all times during this game.
Jared Stroud- The midfielder may not have started the first game of the season, but after coming on in the second half managed to grab an assist on Barlow’s second goal. It will be interesting to see where Stroud plays because depending on the team selection, he could be in behind the striker and not on the wing. Wolyniec talked about playing him centrally more and with his play making abilities it could help NYRB II create more chances.
Photo by Bill Twomey Photography