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SCOUTING REPORT: What to watch for in the USL Eastern Conference Semifinals

New York Red Bulls II prepares to take on Rochester Rhinos in the semifinal matchup at Red Bull Arena on Friday, October 7th at 7 p.m. Red Bulls II are the number one seed in the USL Playoffs, facing Rochester the number four seed. Both teams are coming off comfortable quarterfinal victories, with Rochester defeating Charlotte Independence and New York defeating Orlando City B.

Here is how both teams fared over the regular season:

New York Red Bulls II

Record: 21-3-6

Leading Scorer: Brandon Allen (16)

Assists Leader: Florian Valot (7)

Saves Leader: Ryan Meara (58)

Quarterfinal result: 4-0 victory over Orlando City B.

Rochester Rhinos

Record: 13-5-12

Leading Scorer: Christian Volesky (10)

Assists Leader: Steevan Humberto Fortes dos Santos (5)

Saves Leader: Tomas Gomez (41)

Quarterfinal result: 3-1 victory over Charlotte Independence.

Red Bulls II heads into Friday ready for battle after a convincing 4-0 quarterfinal win against Orlando City B. The matchup against Rochester will be a proving ground of sorts, since these two teams played to three straight draws in the regular season. The conference semifinal will also be a rematch of last year’s USL Playoffs semifinal, in which Rochester eliminated Red Bulls II.

New York has plenty of momentum going into Friday after the weekend’s quarterfinal saw Brandon Allen score yet another goal to bring his overall goal count to 16 goals in 2016. Vincent Bezecourt also continued his hot streak with a goal and two assists against Orlando, bringing his count to five goals in his last five games.

Red Bulls II has now extended its unbeaten streak to 11 games and has won five consecutive games at Red Bull Arena. After shutting out Orlando over the weekend, New York has proven its continued ability to protect the net as they have done all season. Red Bulls II recorded a USL leading 15 shutouts during the regular season.

In the quarterfinal matchup, midfielder Florian Valot gave out his seventh assist of the year and defender Aaron Long scored two goals, proving New York’s playmaking ability from all positions.

Rochester will be a worthy opponent and are unbeaten in 10 games, with five wins and five draws leading up to Friday’s match. Forward Steevan dos Santos has tallied an impressive eight goals and five assists over the course of the regular season, but he has yet to find the net against Red Bulls II.

Rhinos forward Christian Volesky is one more name that New York has to worry about. Rochester’s leading scorer with 10 regular season goals is the heart of the Rhinos’ offense.

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