USL Weekly Update | Plenty to build on for Red Bulls II as Toronto match approaches

New York Red Bulls II kicked off their inaugural United Soccer League (USL) season on Saturday, March 28 against Rochester Rhinos. Despite creating enough scoring chances, Red Bulls II settled for a 0-0 draw at home. With the first game under its belt, Red Bulls II prepares for this weekend’s clash with Toronto FC II.

New York Red Bulls II host TFC II at Red Bull Arena on Saturday, April 4 at 3:30 p.m. EDT (WATCH: Live stream available on NewYorkRedBulls.com).

Inaugural Draw

Red Bulls II played host to fellow New York club Rochester Rhinos in its first ever USL match at Red Bull Arena. NYRB II captain Leo Stolz along with fellow MLS loanees Marius Obekop and Manolo Sanchez were the main sources of attack in the first half, with Homegrown goalkeeper Santiago Castano providing several key saves. The best chance of the half came in the 33rd minute when Victor Manosalvas was brought down in the penalty box by Rochester defender Michael Garzi. Stolz stepped up to take the penalty kick, but his attempt was saved by goalkeeper Brandon Miller.

When NYRB II returned to the pitch for the second half, the squad appeared calm, collected and improved. They out-shot their opponents 3-2, connected more passes and noticeably established a rhythm. In the end, they couldn’t find the go-ahead goal and settled for a scoreless draw to kick off the USL season.

Colin Heffron named to USL Team of the Week

Defender Colin Heffron has been named to the USL Team of the Week for the second week of the 2015 season. Heffron, a native of Upper Brookville, N.Y., played at both left back and center back in the New York Red Bulls II home opener after a first-half substitution. His efforts helped preserve a shutout and capture NYRB II’s first ever USL point.

Red Bulls II take Manhattan

On Tuesday, March 30, New York Red Bulls announced an agreement with Columbia University for New York Red Bulls II to play games at the Baker Athletic Complex’s Rocco B. Commisso Soccer Stadium on Columbia’s campus. The 3,100 seat stadium is easily accessible by public transportation and just a short walk from the 215th street station stop for the 1 train.

The first match at Rocco B. Commisso Soccer Stadium will be on May 17 against Charleston Battery.

Academy Debutants

Four Red Bulls Academy players made their professional debuts last weekend. RBNY Under-18 midfielder Kyle Zajec earned a spot in the starting XI, while Derrick Etienne, Marcello Borges and Juan Sebastian Sanchez made substitute appearances.

Etienne in particular stood out in the second half. He took the place of Victor Manosalvas in the 59th minute and made an immediate impact by creating space for teammates, running at defenders and forcing turnovers in the final third. Perhaps his most impressive moment came in the 77th minute when his spin move dropped a defender and transitioned NYRB II into a deadly attack.

Toron-two FC

For Toronto FC II (1-1-0), this will be the third match of the 2015 season. In TFC II’s opening match, USL team of the week honorees Molham Babouli and Jordan Hamilton both scored in a 3-2 loss against Charleston Battery. Last weekend, Toronto bounced back from the opening loss to defeat “401 Derby” rivals FC Montreal, 2-0.

This was the first professional clean sheet for on-loan TFC goalkeeper and 2015 MLS SuperDraft first round pick, Alex Bono. Midfielder Marcos Nunes provided a 37th minute goal for TFC II, and the second goal was a late own goal by FC Montreal. TFC II’s Babouli supplied an assist on the 37th minute goal and has been named to the USL Team of the Week for his contributions to the victory.