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. 2 seed Louisville City FC in the Eastern Conference Final of the 2016 USL Cup Playoffs on Sunday night at Red Bull Arena, with both teams looking to advance to their first USL Cup Final in just their second season. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. ET.
New York Red Bulls II news and notes
2016 USL Cup Playoffs So Far
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals: W 4-0 vs. Orlando City B
Eastern Conference Semifinals: W 3-3 (5-4 PKs) vs. Rochester Rhinos
The Red Bulls II rallied to take a dramatic victory in a penalty shootout against the Rochester Rhinos to advance to the Eastern Conference Final for the first time in club history as Brandon Allen’s 119th-minute penalty kick left the teams all square at the end of regulation and overtime.
All five Red Bulls II players scored from the spot in the shootout, with Dan Metzger and Konrad Plewa giving the side victory after Steevan Dos Santos had missed for the Rhinos to open the fourth round.
Brandon Allen is tied for the league-lead in postseason goals with three after he scored twice in New York’s victory against Rochester. Swope Park’s Mark Anthony Gonzalez and Rochester’s Steevan Dos Santos also sit on three postseason goals.
The Red Bulls II lead the 2016 USL Cup Playoffs with seven goals in their first two games, continuing its record-setting performance in the regular season that saw the side notch 61 goals in 30 games. New York has now won 11 of its past 12 contests.
Louisville City FC news and notes
2016 USL Cup Playoffs So Far
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals: W 2-0 vs. Richmond Kickers (OT)
Eastern Conference Semifinals: W 1-0 vs. Charleston Battery
Louisville advanced to the Eastern Conference Final for a second consecutive season as Kadeem Dacres scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory against the Charleston Battery on Saturday night in front of 6,581 fans at Slugger Field.
Goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh has recorded back-to-back shutouts in the playoffs, and is third in the postseason with nine saves over 210 minutes of action.
Kadeem Dacres’ goal was his second in the past four games, as the exciting winger also found the net in Louisville’s penultimate game of the regular season, a 5-1 victory against Saint Louis FC on September 17.
Louisville has recorded six wins in its past seven games, and has conceded only two goals over that span. Its last loss came to New York at Red Bull Arena on August 19.
New York Red Bulls II – M Vincent Bezecourt: The French rookie had a big run to close the regular season with four goals in his final four games of the regular season, and another goal to open the playoffs against Orlando City B. Bezecourt also recorded an assist in New York’s win against Rochester, and will be key as the Red Bulls II look to break down a Louisville defense that has tightened up considerably over its past seven games.
Louisville City FC – M Magnus Rasmussen: The Danish midfielder has been a major influence since returning to full fitness, and was very bright in Louisville’s victory against Charleston on Saturday. Rasmussen’s ability to pull opponents out of position before finding a decisive pass that puts them on the back foot will be crucial against New York, particularly as he will likely go against a player in Dan Metzger who is having a strong postseason so far.
2016 Team leaders
Goals: New York – Brandon Allen, 18; Louisville – Chandler Hoffman, 15
Assists: New York – Florian Valot, 7; Louisville – Kyle Smith, 6
The Red Bulls II have taken victory in all four contests between the two clubs, dating back to the start of the 2015 regular season. New York took a 2-0 victory in Louisville on April 2 as goals by Junior Flemmings and Brandon Allen gave the side victory, and then Allen scored from the penalty spot in a 1-0 win on August 19 to complete the regular-season sweep.
REF: Nima Saghafi
AR1: Jeffrey Skinker
AR2: Gyovalin Bori
4TH: Matthew Kreitzer
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