New York Red Bulls II v. Orlando City B Playoff Preview

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New York Red Bulls II v. Orlando City B Playoff Preview

The playoffs are upon us. With a certain team from Harrison playing so well, there are some new followers to the prolific kids from Kearny. Yes, I know they are not from Kearny, but it sounds better. Okay, let’s dive in.

Everything you need to know about NYRBII but were afraid to ask.

I thought I should change up this week’s preview for the USL playoffs by having fun with the format in the style of a FAQ. There is a lot of ground to cover for those who may be coming to their first USL game this season, so let’s not waste any time.

Is it a big deal that NY is the #1 seed in the playoffs?

The New York Red Bulls II enter the 2016 USL playoffs as favorites. The “baby bulls” took the eastern conference by storm finishing with a very impressive 21-3-6 record and a +40 goal differential. This year they set records for the number of wins, total points, goals scored, and nearly for number of shutouts in a season. The USL is a young league, but to run the table and do so in such a dominant manner is foreign to the league. Finishing as the best team in the league means they will have home field advantage through the playoffs until the championship.

Who is NY playing?

Red Bulls will take on Orlando City B. Both teams are very obviously affiliated with a MLS squad. Both squads are full of players who need starting minutes to make the jump to the senior team, and academy players marking another milestone in their rise through the academy system. Orlando finished the season with a 9-13-8 record for 35 points. The Red Bulls finished with 69 points.

Have Orlando and NY played before?

Yes. Orlando and NY met twice during the regular season. Orlando was able to push the Red Bulls in their first meeting to a 2-2 draw. The Red Bulls gave up a late goal to drop two points on the road. The second meeting in Harrison was a blood bath. Orlando started the game with a red card and an own goal in the first 35 minutes. From there out, NY completely controlled the game scoring 4 more times in the second half to win 5-1. NY has lost just once since July 30th. In that same span, Orlando has only won a single game.

What players should I be watching?

The obvious answers are Derrick Etienne, and Brandon Allen. The most important players to the Red Bulls playoff chances though will be Dan Metzger and Speedy Williams. Should Speedy be ready to start, he and Metzger will form a corner stone to the pressing style favored by the Ralfball side. Kevin O’Toole and Noah Powder have also been making a name for themselves. Both are teenage fullbacks who have matured quite a bit over the season and look like future first team players. Lastly, you must watch Florian Valot. He has been quietly the most effective attacker since joining the team midseason. His stats are nearly as good as Etienne in half as many matches. The more I think about it though, there are too many players to mention here that will be important to the future of both teams.

What will the lineup look like?

Here is my best guess:

Who will win?

The Red Bulls are all but a lock to win this one. The X factor is the one and done style of the USL playoffs. Orlando has the capacity to park the bus and look for a counter, but that hasn’t been terribly effective against RBII this year. I’m picking RBII 2-0 in this one.