NYRB II showed promise in their first game, earning a draw against an established Rhinos side, who kicked off their 20th season on Saturday. NYRB II captain Leo Stolz engineered the game out of the midfield, while fellow MLS loanees Marius Obekop and Manolo Sanchez attacked from the wings. Homegrown goalkeeper Santiago Castano made several key saves, and Stolz had a penalty attempt saved in the first half.
“I was really excited about the opportunity and it came together pretty well,” said NYRB II head coach John Wolyniec.
“We got off to a little bit of a shaky start and maybe let Rochester have a little bit too much of the game, but towards the end there you could see we were pushing for a win.”
Rochester had the better of the play to begin the game, earning several chances and corners in the early going. Castano made his first save just seven minutes in, gathering a header off of the first of six Rhinos corner kicks in the first half.
New York gained its footing midway through the first half, and began to turn the tide. Obekop used his speed to open up the game down the left wing. The best chance of the first half for NYRB II came in the 33rd minute. Rhinos keeper Brandon Miller punched away an original shot, but fell out of position. The clearance fell to Victor Manosalvas, but he was hauled down before he could get off a shot towards the empty net. The play resulted in a yellow card and NYRB II was awarded a penalty. Stolz stepped to the spot and struck a ball towards the left corner, but Miller guessed correctly and made a diving save.
The team came together in the second half, getting the better of the efforts and out-shooting Rochester 3-2 in the second stanza.
Red Bulls Academy Under-18 captain Derrick Etienne came off the bench in the 60th minute as the team’s second of five possible substitutes allowed in USL, and instantly made a difference in the attack. The Red Bulls continued to threaten for the final half hour, but were unable to solve Miller and the Rochester defense.
Etienne was one of four Red Bulls Academy players to see time in Saturday’s contest. Kyle Zajec earned a start in the midfield, while Marcello Borges entered as a sub for injured center back Konrad Plewa in the first half. U-18 forward Juan Sebastian Sanchez also subbed on late in the second half. The Academy players who have signed USL academy agreements compete for NYRB II without collecting a salary or other compensation, allowing them to retain college eligibility.
“All day I was pretty excited,” said Wolyniec, in his head coaching debut. “I knew this – this might be an overstatement – but it’s kind of a part of history to have the first game for this team. I feel honored, I feel the responsibility of the opportunity so there’s some pressure there for sure, but for the most part game-day’s an enjoyable day. I always try and keep it as enjoyable as possible so that, one, I can be in a good state of mind, and two, my players feel confident and comfortable to be able to go out there and do the job they need to do.”
New York Red Bulls II are back in action next Saturday, April 4 against Toronto FC II, 3:30 p.m. at Red Bull Arena.
- ROC – Michael Garzi, Caution, 32’
- ROC – Colin Rolfe, Caution, 42’
- ROC – Julian Ringhof, Caution, 80’
- NY: Santiago Castano, Jamie Thomas, Mike Da Fonte, Konrad Plewa (MarcelloBorges, 39’) , Colin Heffron, Kyle Zajec, Leo Stolz ©, Victor Manosalvas (Derrick Etienne, 59’) , Marius Obekop (Franklin Castellanos, 90’) , Manolo Sanchez (Alex Clay, 68’) , Chris Tsonis (Juan Sebastian Sanchez, 79’)
- ROC: Brandon Miller, Alex Dixon (Marcos Ugarte, 79’) , Sean Totsch (Julian Ringhof, 61’) , Vasillio Apostolopoulus, Christian Volesky (Kenaro Forbes, 74’) , Colin Rolfe (Dos Santos, 64’) , Johnny Mendoza (Asani Samuels, 64’) , Garzi, McMahon, Grant Van de Casteele, Tony Walls ©