For the third in time in three meetings New York Red Bulls II and Nashville SC played to a 1-1 draw on Sunday. With a squad featuring first team and NYRB II players they were able to fight back to earn a point after a poor first half. There were a few talking points in this game but let’s start with.
A Tale of Two Halves
The first 30 minutes were always going to be a key in the match for the baby bulls. They started well in the first 15 minutes and looked in control. A defensive mistake from Sean Nealis gave Nashville the lead in the 21st minute and NYRB II looked rattled for the rest of the first half.
In the second half NYRB II came out much stronger and we rewarded for their efforts with they tied the game. The team looked energized and could have grabbed the win but were denied by some good defending and missed chances. Manager John Wolyniec was happy with his teams effort despite not getting the three points.
“The first half was good but we were missing a little bit and then in the second half, we came out really strong in the beginning of the half,” Wolyniec said. “Created a bunch of chances to get back in the game, a little unlucky, (maybe) did we need more quality to get ahead? But, overall, I was pretty happy with the performance and we’re moving in a good direction.”
In mixed squad, one player’s impressive play helped get the team back into the game.
Marcus Epps continues to impress
The midfielder continued his standout performance from week 1 into the game Sunday as he set up the games only goal with a nice cross. Epps looked like one of the more dangerous attackers on the field for NYRB II on the day using his speed and skill to get into good positions. NSC goalkeeper Connor Sparrow denied two chances that fell to Epps. NYRB II forward Brian White praised Epps after the game.
“He’s dynamic,” White said. “1 v1, he’s going to beat his guy so, I just try to stay alert in the box. He’s got good crosses and he’s going to do his job.”
Speaking of White, he impressed in the 64 minutes he played. White got on the end of Epps’ cross to tie the game in the second half. The forward involved himself in a lot of the link up play that led to chances for NYRB II and worked hard to win the ball against a tough Nashville defense.
Cristian Casseres controls the midfield
Casseres may be young but he showed why he is valued highly by the organization with the performance he had on Sunday. His ability to win the ball was on display, the midfielder had 4 tackles and won 14 out of 19 duels.
Although his positioning needs work at times, another asset of Casseres that was on display was his distribution. The midfielder completed 77% of his passes including 74% in the opponents half on Sunday. He showed his ability to get forward in the attack and his skill as well, he drew multiple fouls and helped create chances for his team.
The first team has lacked a midfielder who can win the ball back consistently and a performance like the one on Sunday could see Casseres get a run in the first team.
NYRB II will welcome Memphis 901 FC for the final game of their three game home stand on Friday and will look to continue their strong play.
Photo by John Perdicaro