John Wolyniec
Ben Solomon

Catching Up with NYRBII Coach John Wolyniec

New York Red Bulls II has enjoyed an extremely successful season, in their second year in the USL. After making the playoffs last season as the #4 seed, they won their initial home game over the Pittsburgh Riverhounds before losing to the eventual champion Rochester Rhinos in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

This season, Red Bulls II took the first seed, winning the 2016 USL Regular Season Title and setting multiple records along the way. New York finished 21-3-6, and recorded the most goals, points, and wins among other accolades. With one postseason and two successful regular seasons behind them, they look to use their experience to make an even deeper run during this year’s USL Cup Playoffs. New York starts the postseason at 4:00 pm this Sunday, October 2 at Red Bull Arena against Orlando City B.

Ahead of this Sunday’s USL Cup Playoff game, we caught up with New York Red Bulls II Head Coach John Wolyniec. Check out some highlights of our conversation below:

Takeaways from the regular season…

“Obviously we had a lot of success on the field. […] We’ve been really happy with the way things have gone but at the end of the day […there is] still a lot to be played for in the coming games.”

On last year’s playoff win over Pittsburgh…

“I thought we played well but also let ourselves down in a couple moments.  We weren’t as good as we should have been on set pieces and allowed Pittsburgh to get back into the game, but our resilience and ability to fight back was obviously very good. Hopefully we can draw from that […] every game is up in the air and until we go through the 90 minutes we’re not assured of anything. We have to make sure we are ready to perform from minute one and not take anything for granted.”

His message to the team leading into Sunday…

“These one off games are a bit more pressure, because there’s no tomorrow.  How you handle that is important […] trust in what we’ve done and the work we’ve put in, and we’ve put in a lot of work over the year.  We’ve had a lot of success in games, obviously won a lot of games, scored a lot of goals, defended well. Trust in that fact and go out there and play hard. Trust that you put the work in already, because it’s not like you can come in tomorrow and put in the work. Go out there and be confident.”

On facing Orlando…

“Any MLS second team, is tricky to one, prepare for, and two, to compete with, because it’s hard to know who’s going to be on the team and who’s going to be on the roster that day. There’s a lot of rotation in the squad because whether the first team is using guys or not using guys, if they’re on minutes limits or those types of things, those things are tricky. With Orlando, they have a lot of very technical, very quick good individual players and we are going to have to be ready to defend and in a good honest way, especially in 1v1 situations.  They’re a good attacking team, they like to spread the field, they like to move the ball around.  They’ve shown they can be dangerous going forward and obviously when we played them down there they gave us a lot of trouble and we gave up a goal late to allow them back into the game.”

On what it will take to move on to the next round…

“I think when we’ve focused on being a good defensive team and being aggressive but not allowing teams to get any advantages on us, to make sure we limit the other team’s opportunities to goal, we’ve been very successful so that’s definitely going to be a focus in this game and especially against a good attacking team like Orlando. Keep doing the things we’ve done well this year, whether it’s with the press and bringing energy to the game, or working in transitions, a lot of those little things, maybe a heightened importance on set pieces and stoppages and stuff like that, be petty in those moments and be able to stay focused.”

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