With such an important match vs. New York Red Bulls II on Wednesday, Cincinnati Soccer Talk wanted to reach out to a NYRB/RB II expert. We welcome guest writer Joe Arancio, co-host of Watchin MLS Podcast and contributor on WeFollowFútbol.com to give us an in depth breakdown of the baby bulls. We hope you enjoy.
FC Cincinnati returns to USL play this week when the team welcomes New York Red Bulls II to Nippert Stadium on Wednesday, July 20, at 7 p.m. The Orange & Blue are coming off 2-0 loss at home to EPL side Crystal Palace on Saturday. This match will mark the first time these two clubs have met and is a featured USL Game on the Week on ESPN3.com.
Battle for the East: New York and FC Cincinnati are part of a tight battle atop the Eastern Conference, sitting second and third at the start of the week. The Red Bulls are in second place with 38 points thanks to an 11-1-5 record while Cincinnati sits just behind them in third on 34 points. Both teams have two games in hand on conference leader Louisville City, which has 42 points through 19 games.
Red Bulls Riding Unbeaten Streak: The Red Bulls have lost just once this season and enter Wednesday’s contest undefeated in their past 11 games. New York’s only loss of the season came at home against the Charlotte Independence on May 1. The team is 8-0-3 during its current undefeated run.
Stingy D: The Red Bulls are first in the USL in goals allowed, having given up just 11 goals in 17 games. New York features several strong defenders including center backs Aaron Long and Zach Carroll and fullback Konrad Plewa. The NYRB II defense has allowed just 60 shots on frame in 17 games and when a shot is on target goalkeeper Ryan Meara is usually up to the challenge. The former MLS starter has played in 13 games and sports a 0.66 goals-against average with an .800 save percentage.
Road Warriors: New York is undefeated in eight road games this season with seven wins. The game at Nippert will be New York’s third-straight road contest following wins at FC Montreal (4-2) and the Charlotte Independence (2-1). The only game in which the Red Bulls have dropped points this season away from Red Bull Arena was at Orlando City B on June 19 when the two teams played to a 2-2 draw.
Allen & Youth Leading the Attack: New York Homegrown signing Brandon Allen (22) has led the Red Bull attack this season with a team-high eight goals, tied with FC Cincinnati’s Sean Okoli for fifth in USL. Allen has scored four times in the past four games, including his first professional hat trick at FC Montreal. The former Georgetown Hoya is joined in a balanced NYRB II attack by fellow Homegrown signing Derrick Etienne (19) (2g, 4a), Junior Flemmings (20) (5g, 3a), and Stefano Bonomo (23) (3g, 1a). MLS Chipotle Homegrown Game team member Tyler Adams (17) has also been loaned back down to NYRB II after featuring in 1 match for the MLS club this season. Adams has appeared for NYRB II in 9 matches, but has been featured in the parent clubs in their match day 18 during his loan.
Strong Finishers: The Red Bulls have dominated teams in the second half this season, outscoring their opponents, 15-4, after halftime. Against Wilmington, New York scored three times after the break to turn a close 1-0 game into a 4-0 blowout.
FC Cincinnati Continues To Set New Attendance Marks: FC Cincinnati’s game against Crystal Palace was played in front of a record crowd of 35,061 on Saturday making it the highest-attended soccer match ever in Ohio. The Orange & Blue also have the highest-attended game in USL this season at 23,375 and the team’s average attendance of 16,492 is tops in the league, almost 5,000 more than second-place Sacramento Republic FC. The average attendance difference between FC Cincinnati and the third-place team, Louisville City FC (7,221), is larger than the difference between third (LouCity) and 29th (NYRB). New York Red Bulls II has the lowest attendance in USL (334 avg.) but plays in the second largest stadium (Red Bull Arena). FC Cincinnati is expecting approx. 15K for Wednesday’s match and over 20K for Saturday.
This match should be exciting for all in attendance. This is perhaps the closest to an MLS-level lineup that FC Cincinnati will face this season. With both teams featuring a potent attack and stout defense, the midfield will be locked in a battle to maintain possession and create chances. USL was wise to feature this match on the ESPN3 platform.
— FC Cincinnati (@fccincinnati) July 18, 2016
Radio: ESPN 1530 (iHeartRadio)
Stay tuned to Cincinnati Soccer Talk for staff predictions on Wednesday and more news and analysis leading up to this weekend’s match.