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USL Weekly Update | Red Bulls II aim for home-field advantage with win vs. Rochester

New York Red Bulls II clinched a spot in the playoffs last weekend, thanks to beneficial results from around USL. Last week the team lost its first match in almost a month against FC Montreal, but look to bounce back and clinch home-field advantage in the first-round of the playoffs.

New York Red Bulls II are set to take on Rochester Rhinos on Saturday, Sept. 19 at 7:05 p.m. ET (WATCH: Live stream available at NewYorkRedBulls.com/Live).

Playoffs clinched

Red Bulls II clinched a spot in the USL Playoffs last weekend and will have a chance to earn home-field advantage in the first round with a win against Rochester Rhinos. New York can also clinch home-field in the conference quarterfinal if Charlotte Independence lose or draw against Charleston Battery.

READ: New York Red Bulls II clinch USL Playoff berth in inaugural season

Four teams have secured their postseason spots in the Eastern Conference: Rochester Rhinos (USL Regular Season Title, first-round bye), Louisville City FC (first-round bye), Charleston Battery, and New York Red Bulls II.

Rochester Rhinos

New York Red Bulls II has already clinched its place in the 2015 USL Playoffs, but looks to try and clinch home-field advantage for at least the first round with a win against Rochester Rhinos on Saturday. This will be the third and final matchup of the regular season between the clubs, and a potential playoff preview. In the teams’ first match, NYRB II’s inaugural game, the teams played out a scoreless draw at Red Bull Arena. In the second meeting on April 26, Rochester claimed victory at home, 2-0.

Red Bulls II enters this match in a much different spot than they did their previous matchup on April 26, when the team was in its infancy with a 1-2-2 record. This time, New York comes in as the third highest scoring team in the conference (as of 9/16) and 3-1-1 in their last five matches.

Rochester boasts the best defense in the USL, allowing only 12 goals in 25 matches this season. With only one loss in 2015, the Rhinos are a difficult team to beat, but like any team, they have their weaknesses. Rochester has scored 35 goals this season, the eighth highest amount in the Eastern Conference. If NYRB II can effectively press, break down the defense and finish its chances, New York can find victory in Rochester where the Rhinos are undefeated this season (10-0-2).

Fast Facts from the last five matches

Santiago Castano has allowed a total of five goals in the last five matches. The goalkeeper is fourth in USL for saves this season with 83 stops in 21 games played.

Franklin Castellanos appeared in his first match on Sept. 9 against FC Montreal as a substitute since picking up an injury against Wilmington Hammerheads FC on Aug. 8. Castellanos has appeared in 15 matches this season and tallied three goals for NYRB II this season after scoring against Chelsea in the International Champions Cup for the First Team.

Manolo Sanchez has scored two goals in the last three matches. He scored the game-winning goal against Wilmington Hammerheads on Aug. 29, and tallied again in the following match versus Louisville City FC. Sanchez has a total of four goals and one assist in 21 appearances this season.

Stefano Bonomo has tallied two goals and two assists this season, all within the last five matches. Since joining NYRB II on July 29, the forward has appeared in eight matches and recorded one game-tying goal against Charlotte Independence and a game-winning assist against Toronto FC II.

Playoff Picture

Red Bulls II claimed its spot in the 2015 USL Playoffs and is looking to clinch home-field advantage for at least the first round. With a victory against Rochester, New York will advance into the playoffs with at least the fourth seed. If Charleston wins, the Battery will clinch the third seed. However, if Charleston Battery lose and NYRB II earn at least a draw in Rochester, Red Bulls II will clinch the third seed.

READ: 2015 USL Playoffs – Where Teams Stand, Magic Numbers

The playoff format for USL is similar to MLS, where the top two teams in each conference receive a first-round bye, while the third place team hosts the sixth place team, and the fourth place team hosts the fifth place team. All playoff matches are a single leg with the winner advancing to the next round.

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