New York Red Bulls II rounded out their homestand with a big win over Birmingham Legion on Wednesday. Below are some thoughts on the game, starting with.
Mathias Jørgensen makes his mark
One apparent thing early on in 2019? First team players that loaned down to NYRB II. Whether it’s been a matter of keeping guys fresh or something else RBNY manager Chris Armas hasn’t been hesitant to send guys down to NYRB II this year.
For the most part the players have responded and that was again the case on Wednesday. Mathias Jørgensen made the biggest impact. The forward scored a brace and looked dangerous in the second half after a frustrating opening 45 minutes.
“I am growing more and more every day,”Jørgensen said. “From the training to the match pitch, I am growing every time I come onto the pitch. I am happy to help the team with two goals, but I think I can help my teammates more in a game like this. Goals give confidence and confidence gives more goals, and I hope I can keep going.”
The 18 year old talked about his benchmarks for the season and how he’s transitioning to the the playing style in the United States.
“It is a big step to get into a new country and to see the playing style in it,”Jørgensen said. “[The style of play is] more physical than in Denmark, but I think it is a step by step in training and trying to grow every time I come to training and every time I get into a match. It was one decision to come to this club because I think my playing style fits into the system and then hopefully I grow more in this system and develop every time I get onto the training pitch.”
Jørgensen’s signing created high fan expectations. Though he signed an MLS contract, some USL minutes are helping him grow into the Red Bull system.
Rotation doesn’t stop the goals from coming
Speaking of first team players in the team on Wednesday, Derrick Etienne and Andreas Ivan made their marks on the match as well. Etienne grabbed the opening goal after latching on to a wayward pass and also grabbed an assist on Jørgensen’s first goal. Ivan created three chances and also picked up an assist on the corner that set up Sean Nealis’ goal.
With a two day turnaround, it’s always going to be a challenge to integrate different players into the team. Even with a big roster manager John Wolyniec gave credit to his guys for being ready.
“It is difficult when we change guys and stuff,” Wolyniec said. “In some ways, it’s also benefited, especially on a short week when we only have two days between games. It helps having a big roster in that sense. There’s always pros and cons and dealing with it and credit to our guys today. For the most part, they did a good job of gelling.”
The NYRB II players would have their impact on the scoring later on with Tom Barlow grabbing his league leading 8th goal with Jared Stroud providing the assist. Wolyniec praised his team’s offensive output to start the year.
“In the past we’ve talked about how the style is the creator,” Wolyniec said. “I think last year we ended up leading both USL and MLS in chances created. I’m sure we’re somewhere around there again. It’s just the way we play, that’s not always the most important thing but it’s something that we feel like we’re good at.”
In addition to the team’s style, Wolyniec also touched on getting the right players as a key to the team’s success.
“We feel like we’re getting the right pieces,” Wolyniec said. “Tom has been phenomenal, he’s a great example of that. Jared comes on in a good way at the end of the half and obviously Derek and Andy were pretty dangerous most of the game. We’re always trying to be aggressive and when you’re aggressive you end up getting chances, and today a lot of them went in. We feel good about where we’re at and the players that we use up front and we have depth.”
The forwards continue to score, but there’s one aspect of the team that continues to grow and could play a big part in NYRB II’s success.
The backline continues to impress
With the quick turnaround from Sunday’s game there was questions as to who was going to start on the backline for NYRB II on Wednesday. Wolyniec elected to go with Sean Nealis and Jordan Scarlett once again in the central defense after their impressive performances against Indy Eleven.
The outside backs were rotated with Allen Yanes and Edgardo Rito coming in for Rece Buckmaster and Kyle Duncan, Ryan Meara started in place of Evan Louro in goal.
Outside of a big chance early on from Birmingham that was saved well by Meara, the defense held Birmingham to very little on the night. Wolyniec was impressed with how his defense responded after giving up some early chances.
“We’ve been pretty good defensively and we’ve had some moments where we slipped,” Wolyniec said. Today we gave up the first real chances of the game. A little bit lucky in that sense, but we didn’t give up much, they had some struggles with some injuries and being shorthanded, but our guys came up and were ready for the task.”
Nealis and Scarlett continue to build chemistry in the central of defense and it’s starting to show over the past few games.
“The beginning of the season whenever you bring in new guys, it is going to be difficult at first,” Nealis said. “But as season goes along, we hope to build chemistry with each other, and the results have shown throughout the last few games have shown that. We have been happy with the result in the back and hopefully we can keep going. “
With a two game road trip coming up against the Ottawa Fury and Tampa Bay Rowdies, Nealis hopes the team can continue to play as they did in the second half on Wednesday.
“We are looking forward to it and we hope to get three points in Ottawa,” Nealis said. “We hope to play better than we did in the first half more so like the second half and finish our chances that we get.”
Photo by John Perdicaro