The New York Red Bulls II extended their unbeaten streak to 7 games with a comfortable 2-0 win over a St Louis FC. Sebastien Elney scored two goals to secure the win, a game NYRBII controlled from start to finish.
No Epps? No problem
When Marcuss Epps was loaned to Memphis 901 FC, it was unclear who would replace him at NYRBII. Homegrown Ben Mines has struggled with injuries, and Sebastian Elney has been underwhelming coming off the bench.
On Friday night it was Elney who got a chance to shine, and he took it in stride. Elney is a very different type of winger, offering more ability in the air, and with his back to goal, looking like a second striker at times. He also has the ability to put balls in the back of the net and get in behind.
“We know that he can be dynamic,” said John Wolyniec after the match. “And when he combines the two of the that’s when you can see his real worth. he makes a good action on the first goal and that’s a nice weapon for him the way he strikes the ball.”
Defense continues to impress
With two shutouts in a row, it is becoming clear that Evan Louro and the 4 defenders in front of him are in good form. If NYRBII challenge for a USL title, it will be because of strong defensive play. That was the key last time, when Aaron Long was USL Defender of the Year, and Ryan Meara was making clutch saves. What is different this time, is that it doesn’t seem to matter who the defenders are. They are all performing well. Evan Louro had similar thoughts after the game.
“I think they worked really good together,” said Louro following the win. “Obviously , you know, we have Rece as well, and Janos Loebe, and Allen Yanes. I think it’s all really a seamless transition doesn’t really matter who we put in.”
The backline still has work to do, but pieces are in place to anchor the team, and allow the creative players in the attack go to work.
Jean-Christophe Koffi shines
He may not have gotten on the stat sheet, but Koffi impressed all night. With STLFC sitting deep, he did exactly what he had to do moving the ball quickly from side to side and even committing players 1v1 successfully.
On the defensive side, he covered ground, and was always well positioned to break up counter attacks with strong and decisive tackling. This was the player fans expected when he first signed with the organization, and it appears as if he is starting to turn the corner. If Koffi can consistently put in performances like he did against STLFC, he will be in a good spot to compete for first team minutes next season.
Photo by John Perdicaro