Match: New York Red Bulls II vs. Harrisburg City Islanders
Date: Saturday, May 6th
Venue: MSU Soccer Park (Montclair, NJ)
Refs: REF: HENRIK KARLSSON AR1: Amilcar Sicaju AR2: Victor Vazquez 4TH: Brian Dipaolo
Harrisburg all time vs NYRBII (W-L-T): 3-4-0
How New York will look: New York stands at a level 2-2-2 after six matches this season. Not a spectacular start after they bulldozed their way to the championship last season. Their strength continues to be their offensive prowess, with Vincent Bezecourt already having five goals in six matches. However, their defense has not been pulling its weight compared to last year. They’ve already given up ten goals this season after conceding only twenty-one in all of 2016.
How Harrisburg will look: Harrisburg is traveling to New Jersey for the second time this season, and they’re looking to rebound from a tough loss in Pittsburgh last Saturday. The Islanders will be without left back Abass Mohamed and goalkeeper Brandon Miller after they both picked up red cards last week. They’re also likely to be missing forward Aaron Wheeler due to injury. Expect this to lead to an interesting shuffling at both the front and back of the starting eleven.
What to expect: New York scored nine goals in two matches against the City Islanders at the end of last season, so when they couldn’t generate much offense against them in their first match this season, they seemed kind of lost. They ramped things up considerably after going down a goal, but Harrisburg’s defense held tough.
Expect Harrisburg to try and follow this playbook the second time around as well. They’ll most likely push for a goal off of a counter or set piece and then clamp down hard with their tight defense. It’s not the flashiest of styles, but it’s what got them three points last time.
What may make this difficult is that Harrisburg has struggled to push the ball through the midfield during their last two matches. If they can’t add another two or three touches to sustain their possessions, they’ll have a hard time getting that first goal.
PREDICTION: I really feel like this match could go either way, so I’m just going to predict that the final score will be 1-0.