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March to the Match: at NYRB II

WHO: New York Red Bulls II, 11-8-2, 39 points, 3rd in Eastern Conference

WHAT: The first of three league road games to finish out Louisville City’s inaugural season.

WHEN: Saturday, September 5, 2015, 8:30 p.m.

WHERE: A desolate and sad Red Bull Arena, Harrison, NJ. A live action shot of their most recent home game is above.*

*No it’s not. OR IS IT?

WATCH: It’s Labor Day weekend! It’s gonna be HOT! You’re gonna be THIRSTY for BEER! Or NOT BEER! Lucky for you, Against the Grain has BOTH! So join us down there to watch the game! But if you can’t because, like me, you’re going to watch people get married, or like someone else who runs social media for the Coopers, you are actually getting married, then peep the game on your favorite mobile device here:

Assuming your bride/husband-to-be knows you at all, they’ll totally understand.

WHO, AGAIN? You’ll recall the Baby Bulls were the first team to beat Louisville City at home earlier this season in a 2-0 loss that came at the end of a grueling stretch of games on short rest, including a 0-1 loss to the Chicago Fire earlier in the week at the tail end of extra time. That sucked.

This second meeting isn’t a whole lot different, as it marks the fifth game City has played in the last 14 days. Luckily, City will have the services of Juan Guzman back, though Kadeem Dacres and Conor Shanosky are quite a bit more iffy starts. Their erstwhile replacements have been very good (think Harrisburg) to ehh (Pittsburgh), but it was encouraging to see the Royals play so well on short rest earlier this week, along with some sterling performances from players that don’t get to see at much time, e.g. Sean Reynolds.

Red Bulls, Jr., though, aren’t facing the same fatigue, and frankly even if they had played earlier in the week, their 40 man roster is more than able to replace the dudes that went 90 in the last game anyway. Some consistency in coach John Wolyniec’s lineups has become apparent, as Marius Obekop, Leo Stolz, Manolo Sanchez and Santiago Castano are getting fairly regular minutes for the 2 Bulls. Recent addition Stefano Bonomo has shined in his six appearances, bagging two goals and an assist in about 350 minutes. Their most recent string of results are T-L-T-W-W, the two wins coming against Toronto and Wilmington, which is a gift at this point.

WILDLY INACCURATE PREDICTIONS: I’m as positive a person on Louisville City as you’ll probably meet, but this smells like a loss to me. NYRB II is trying to get home field advantage for the playoffs, too, not that their home field actually constitutes an advantage for them. More of a way to avoid being a road team from the outset, I guess. Anyway, combine an average of three days rest for two weeks with five games and a long bus trip to former New York Governor David Patterson’s favorite punching bag, New Jersey, and that spells loss to me. 2-0 Red Bulls II. I feel bad even typing that. Ugh. Make it stop.