Preview: NYRB II travel to Pittsburgh to face off against old foe

New York Red Bulls II look to build on their three match win streak against Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Saturday.

The baby bulls were able to grind out a win against the defending champions Louisville City in their last game. The win moved NYRBII within a point of 1st place Tampa Bay Rowdies with a game still in hand. Kyle Zajec spoke about the important win and a game they were looking forward to since the season began.

“It was good,” Zajec said. “We took on the defending champions and we were able to come out with a result. I think a lot of the guys that were here last year kind of marked it as a big game on the calendar and to come out with the win was very important.”

Now NYRB II will face off against someone they are familiar with in Bob Lilley. Lilley, who previously managed the Rochester Rhinos, took over the Riverhounds last year. As he did in Rochester, Lilley teams continue to challenge Wolyniec’s teams. NYRBII split the series with the Riverhounds last season, losing 3-0 away and defeating Pittsburgh 2-1 at MSU Soccer Park.

Manager John Wolyniec talked about the challenge Lilley and Pittsburgh present and hopes that their last game helps them out.

“Pittsburgh is always tough to play against,” Wolyniec said. “Bob [Lilley] does a great job coaching his teams. He keeps them organized, always a challenge, especially when their home. They play in tight games, so you know there is just a good chance that it is another one to nothing game and hopefully our experience in our last game helps us with that.”

This will be the first of three games in seven days for NYRBII, all on the road. Wolyniec spoke about the first year players experiencing a lot of travel.

“It is difficult,” Wolyniec said. “Usually for young players, the hardest thing they find is trying to be consistent, especially in a long season. When you compare the college season to a pro season, we are right about Final Four times, so you know it is hard for them to maintain and then you throw in things like playing on different fields, different locker rooms, and travel especially in a week that has a little extra travel. It is certainly difficult, but it is a challenge and it is something that, hopefully we take in a good way.”

Zajec being of those first year players thinks there will be some fatigue during the trip, but said they have a strong team and can earn some points on the trip.

“I think there is definitely going to be some fatigue,” Zajec said. “We have some injuries on the team, but I think we have a strong team that we can put on the field and we are going to just push through the fatigue and come away with three points at each game that is the focus for this road trip.”

Photo by John Perdicaro

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