New York Red Bulls II approach the USL Eastern Conference Finals for the third-straight season against a familiar foe in Louisville City FC.
Despite allowing 59 goals in the regular season, the most of any playoff team, NYRB II has been buoyed by a strong defense recording two clean sheets against Charleston Battery and top-seeded FC Cincinnati en route to the conference finals.
Homegrown centerback Kevin Politz has been paired with Hassan Ndam during the playoffs and dating back into the end of the regular season and has found chemistry with one another.
“Chris (Armas) says it a lot with the first team is that defense wins championship,” Politz said. “We knew towards the end of the season that if we wanted to make a good run at this then we had to play defensively as a collective unit. Especially Cincinnati, we did a really good job of shutting them down and limiting them to a couple of chances on the video, but we did a really good job playing together, shifting well, and doing all the little things that lead to shutouts eventually.”
Facing a dangerous Louisville side that possesses the league’s all-time top single season goal scorer in Cameron Lancaster with 25 goals in 2018, the back four will need another strong performance in hopes of returning to the USL Cup final for the second time in three seasons.
“Just keep doing the things that we have been doing,” Politz said. “All of the small things that add up and throw-ins for example. Just being lock down with communication. I think that is something that has contributed to our improvement on defense, is just constant communication, everyone is on the same page, so if we keep doing the things we have been doing well, I think we will have some success.”