Just four days after facing-off with the MLS edition of New York Red Bulls, FC Cincinnati heads to Montclair, New Jersey to take on New York Red Bulls II, the USL counterpart.
This is the first meeting between these two sides in 2017. FC Cincinnati lost twice to Red Bulls II last season. The last time these teams met resulted in a 2-0 defeat for the Orange and Blue at Red Bull Arena. It was a match marred by VAR controversy. Mitch Hildebrandt was shown an early red card in that match, but his suspension was subsequently overturned by USL.
Red Bulls II are the reigning USL champions, although key departures have made them less potent in 2017. Three players from the 2016 Baby Bulls roster, Aaron Long, Ryan Meara, and Derrick Etienne, Jr. are now with the first team and featured against FCC in the US Open Cup on Tuesday.
Alan Koch’s side currently sits in seventh place in the Eastern Conference on 31 points. NYRBII slots in two places and three league points behind them in ninth. Both teams have played 23 matches.
FC Cincinnati will be without both Kenney Walker and Sem De Wit for this match. Walker picked up his fifth yellow card of the season last Saturday and is therefore suspended for accumulation. De Wit saw red against Louisville City and therefore must also sit out of Saturday’s contest.
In addition to the suspensions, roster rotation is expected as many of the regular starters played against Louisville City and the MLS Red Bulls already this week. Djiby and Kyle Greig are available after missing out on Wednesday’s US Open Cup match.
Red Bulls II are also likely to be without some key players as the first team calls in reinforcements following Tuesday’s grueling US Open Cup match. Names like Bezecourt, Basuljevic, and Metzger, who all have played substantial minutes with NYRBII, could be with the first team. Also note that leading goalscorer Brandon Allen was loaned out to Minnesota United in July.
Also, listen to Michael Walker from O&B Press recap the USOC Semifinal and preview Saturday’s match against NYBRII on the Raising Bulls Podcast.
Here are four fast facts that will make you an exceptionally well-prepared fan for Saturday’s USL clash.
- FC Cincinnati is 1-1-3 in games following a midweek US Open Cup match. The single match they won was against Bethlehem Steel at Nippert three days after dispatching AFC Cleveland on May 17th.
- The Baby Bulls have conceded a lot of goals this USL season. In fact, they’ve given up 11 more goals than FC Cincinnati after 23 matches. However, Alan Koch’s side has hit their own defensive rough patch, conceding ten goals in their last three league games. Compare that to NYRBII’s four goals allowed over the same stretch.
- Red Bulls II striker Stefano Bonomo missed the first half of the season through injury, but has returned in good form, scoring three goals in the last three matches.
- Jimmy McLaughlin has a good chance to be selected on Saturday, after playing a substitute role in the past two games. He’s second in the team in chances created (27), and leads the team in crossing accuracy (29%) for players with 10 crosses or more. His service will be needed to feed Djiby and Kyle Greig in attack.
Stay tuned to Orange and Blue Press for more coverage of Saturday’s contest.