Four Baby Bulls Named to USL Championship Team of the Week
Four Red Bulls II players, midfielders Chris Lema, Jared Stroud, Marcus Epps and striker Tom Barlow, were named to the United Soccer League (USL) Team of the Week. Let’s look at what each player has accomplished so far this season.
Jared Stroud has been a major offensive threat for the Baby Bulls all season long. Just this last week, Stroud scored a thrilling winning goal in the 87th minute in the Baby Bulls 4-3 triumph over Bethlehem. This Saturday against Atlanta UTD II, Stroud led the way for the Baby Bulls. Stroud made a pass to Chris Lema on the first Baby Bulls goal and then scored twice to give the Red Bulls II a 3-0 lead by the 22nd minute of the match. The dynamic midfielder ended week 19 of the USL Championship with four goals and one assist.
The 23-year-old from Chester, New Jersey has scored seven goals and made six assists, which makes him the team’s most productive player. The young gun leads the team in chances created with 53. Heading into the second half of the season, Stroud will continue to be the team’s captain and their most productive player on offense.
Lema scored four goals in the Red Bulls II victory at home Saturday over Atlanta UTD II. After scoring just one goal this season, Lema exploded for four tallies against Atlanta UTD II in Montclair. Following the match, the 22-year-old from Ridgefield, New Jersey described what the team did so well in that game.
“The team did very well. We played how we like to play, with a lot of high pressure,” Lema said. “Before the game we said that we all have to be pressing and going forward passing the ball. As you can see, our press was good and as a result our ability to go forward was very good and getting four goals felt good.”
The 24-year-old from St. Louis, Missouri was called up to the first team on May 8. On May 19, Barlow scored his first Major League Soccer (MLS) goal for the Red Bulls against Atlanta United. Barlow, (aka “Tom the Terrific”), also assisted Jared Stroud’s game-winning goal in the Red Bulls II road-win against Bethlehem Steel FC. Barlow has scored ten goals in ten appearances for the Baby Red Bulls this season.
Barlow scored his second MLS goal on July 17 against Toronto. In four first-team matches, Barlow has 2 goals, while on the Baby Bulls he has ten goals in ten matches. Barlow is a tall and rangy striker who has scored a goal-per-game while in a Red Bulls II uniform. Red Bulls II supporters are hoping Barlow will continue to produce ahead of their home match with first-place Tampa Bay on July 26.
Epps was selected in the MLS Waiver Draft by the New York Red Bulls in December, after having spent the last two years with Philadelphia Union. Epps appeared in 16 matches for the Union and scored three goals.
Epps has now appeared in 16 games on the Baby Red Bulls and started 14 of those matches. He has only missed playing in three of the team’s 19 games. Epps is tied for second with Tom Barlow for shots attempted this season.
Against Atlanta UTD II, Epps scored his second goal of the season on a penalty-kick. The 24-year-old from Jackson, Mississippi is third on the team in scoring chances created behind Jared Stroud and Chris Lema, which shows how important Epps is to the team’s ability to create offense.
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