New York Red Bulls on Hot Streak Heading into Finals Week
The New York Red Bulls are peaking at the best possible time. Unbeaten in eight straight games, the Red Bulls were one of two teams to sweep through the group stage at the Academy Playoffs, winning all three matches. New York has not lost a match since May 20, a positive sign as the club enters its second trip to Finals Week in Houston.
How they got to Finals Week: Three wins in three games helped see the Red Bulls through to their second appearance at Finals Week. The MLS-affiliated club conceded a tournament-best one goal while scoring seven to hold off CASL Chelsea FC Academy in Group 1. The Red Bulls were fast starters in group play, scoring all but one goal in the first half.
Finals Week and Academy Playoffs History: This year marks the first time New York’s U-15/16 team has qualified for the postseason since 2008-09 and it is the team’s first trip to the Development Academy Finals Week since that same 2008-09 season when the club earned a seventh-place finish with a 3-1 win against Greensboro Youth Soccer (now affiliated with the North Carolina Fusion).
2011-12 Regular Season: The Red Bulls finished second in the Atlantic Division, barely edging out Albertson SC for an automatic bid to the Development Academy Playoffs on goal differential. New York’s record of 4-3-3 and overall mark of 19-6-4 was enough to secure a spot to the postseason for a second time in the club’s history.
About head coach Robert Elliott : A native of Middletown, N.J., Elliott was in charge during the Red Bulls’ last run to Finals Week in 2008-09. Before joining the Red Bulls Academy, Elliott was the assistant coach at Virginia Commonwealth University for four years. During his time at VCU, Elliott helped the Rams reach the NCAA quarterfinals and a final NSCAA National Ranking of No. 7. As a collegiate player at Cornell, Elliott was named to the 1996 NSCAA/Umbro Division I Men’s All-America Second Team. He was a two-time First-Team All-New York State selection and set a school record with 18 career assists.
About the New York Red Bulls: The first name that comes to mind when discussing the New York Red Bulls Academy is U.S. Men’s National Team forward Juan Agudelo. The 19-year-old spent time with the Academy team before making the jump to the first team and has been a consistent part of the U.S. MNT picture recently. Other Academy alumni include Conor Lade (Red Bulls Homegrown player), Matt Kassel and Sacir Hot. The Red Bulls regularly produce one of the highest numbers of U.S. Youth National Team representation among the Academy teams. In June, four of the 19 Academy players on the U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team roster traveled to the Copa Saprissa Internacional.
Scoring Leader in Academy Playoffs: Alex Muyl (2), Amando Moreno (2), Ismar Tandir (2)
Scoring Leader During 2011-12 Regular Season: Alex Muyl (13)
Inside the Numbers: During its eight-game unbeaten streak, New York has outscored its opponents 16-3 … Of the Red Bulls’ three Group 1 opponents heading into Finals Week (Pateadores, Charlotte Soccer Academy, Chicago Fire), New York faced Chicago during the regular season, playing to a 1-1 draw on Dec. 5, 2011 … Including the Academy Playoffs, six players have scored five or more goals this season for New York and three are double-digit scorers.
Did you know … Red Bulls U-17/18 assistant coach John Wolyniec is a New York native and former Red Bulls first team member. Wolyniec retired in 2010 after playing nearly a decade for the Red Bulls spread out over several stints. The forward began his MLS career with New York in 1999 when the club was called the MetroStars, but left after just one season. He returned to New York from 2003-05 and after bits of the 2005 and 2006 seasons spent with Columbus and the LA Galaxy, went back to New York for a third stint from 2006-2010. All told, he made 142 appearances for the Red Bulls.
U-15/16 New York Red Bulls 2011-12 Finals Week Schedule:
Home team listed first
Tuesday, July 17: New York Red Bulls vs. Pateadores, 8 p.m. CT
Thursday, July 19: Chicago Fire vs. New York Red Bulls, 9 p.m. CT
Saturday, July 21: New York Red Bulls vs. Charlotte Soccer Academy, 8 p.m. CT
Monday, July 23: TBD