Photo courtesy New York Red Bulls II
HARRISON, N.J. – The USL Regular Season champion New York Red Bulls II plays host to the No. 8 seed Orlando City B on Sunday afternoon at Red Bull Arena in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2016 USL Cup Playoffs, with the Red Bulls II looking to continue their record-setting form of the regular season in the pursuit of more silverware. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. ET.
New York Red Bulls II news and notes
Regular Season record: 21-3-6, 69pts
The Red Bulls II claimed the USL Regular Season Championship with a record-setting season that saw the side set new marks for total wins (21), points (69), road wins (13) and goals (61).
New York also set a USL record for goal differential, as it recorded the best defensive record in the USL with 21 goals conceded, and 16 shutouts, during the regular season.
Rookie Brandon Allen led the Red Bulls II with 15 goals as the side proved particularly potent after the halftime break, recording a USL-high 36 goals in the second halves of its contests.
New York took victory in nine of its last 10 games of the season, which included a pair of wins against the East’s No. 3-seed FC Cincinnati and another against No. 2-seed Louisville City FC.
Orlando City B news and notes
Regular Season record: 9-13-8, 35pts
Orlando was the final team to claim a berth in the USL Cup Playoffs as it defeated Bethlehem Steel FC 2-0 on the final Sunday of the season to edge out Wilmington Hammerheads FC.
OCB’s victory against the Steel broke an eight-game winless streak, which had seen the side go from a solid participant in the USL Cup Playoffs to potentially missing out on the final weekend of the regular season.
Preceding the winless streak was a nine-game undefeated streak for the side, which had included notable victories on the road against the Charleston Battery and Louisville City FC.
Goalkeeper Mark Ridgers was a vital element to the team’s success, as he led the league with 106 saves in the regular season, an average of 3.9 per game in his 27 starts.
New York Red Bulls II – M Derrick Etienne Jr.: Etienne appeared as an Academy signing for the Red Bulls II in the club’s inaugural season, but after playing his freshman season at the University of Virginia signed as a Homegrown Player with the Red Bulls’ MLS squad. In 2016, he not only made his MLS debut, but also became the key creative force in the Red Bulls II’s midfield, finishing tied for the team-high with six assists. The No. 3 player in the USL’s 20 Under 20 series this summer, he’ll now aim to lead the side to even greater success in the postseason.
Orlando City B – M Pierre Da Silva: A product of Orlando’s Academy system, Da Silva signed with the USL club before the start of its inaugural season, and went on the play impressively for both OCB and the U.S. U19 and U20 National Teams. The No. 15 selection on the USL 20 Under 20 has the playmaking ability to provide leading scorer Michael Cox with the service he needs as Orlando looks to break down the best defense in the USL this season.
2016 Team leaders
Goals: New York – Brandon Allen, 15; Orlando – Michael Cox, 11
Assists: New York – Derrick Etienne Jr., Florian Valot, 6; Orlando – Pierre Da Silva, 5
New York took the regular season series with a 1-0-1 record, and blew out Orlando 5-1 when the teams met at Red Bull Arena on August 12. Four second-half goals, including strikes from Brandon Allen, Devon Williams and Zoumana Simpara powered the Red Bulls II in that contest, and Orlando will need to be at its best to avoid a similar result this time around.
REF: Matthew Kreitzer
AR1: Tom Felice
AR2: Justen Lopez
4TH: Jared Simons
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