Photo courtesy Ben Solomon / New York Red Bulls II
HARRISON, N.J. – Enzo Martinez scored in his third consecutive game to lead the Charlotte Independence to 2-0 victory against the New York Red Bulls II on Sunday afternoon at Red Bull Arena. The defeat was the first for the Red Bulls II, as Charlotte moved into second place in the USL’s Eastern Conference.
Charlotte (4-2-0,12pts) almost got off to a flying start as Brian Brown beat the Red Bulls II’s high line inside the opening minute, but the Jamaican forward shanked his finish wide of the right post. The Independence’s early pressure paid off in the 13th minute as Enzo Martinez continued his strong run of form with a goal in his third consecutive game with a back-post finish from a low cross by Brown.
New York (3-1-2, 11pts) got its first chance in the 21st minute as a good passing movement came to Alex Muyl, who tried to negotiate space at the top of the penalty area, but the Independence defense was able close down and block his shot. Konrad Plewa had a shot from distance a minute later, but it was easily saved by Independence goalkeeper Cody Mizell.
Charlotte made it 2-0 in the 33rd minute as a deflected cross span into the penalty area, and Red Bulls II defense Gideon Baah missed the chance to clear. Patrick Slogic seized on the chance, and roofed his finish from eight yards for his first goal of the season.
Martinez almost made it three a few minutes later as he cut past his defense in the left side of the penalty area, and sent a low shot to the far corner, but Red Bulls II goalkeeper Rafael Diaz got down well to save.
The Red Bulls II got a big chance to cut the deficit in half just before the halftime break, as a bad pass by Henry Kalungi was intercepted by Anatole Abang, and he laid a pass off for Brandon Allen, whose shot from 12 yards was saved by Mizell. Muyl got the rebound, but wasn’t able to control his finish as it went over the crossbar.
New York again went close early in the second half as Muyl got in behind the defense and sent a low cross that found Allen, but the forward wasn’t able to get enough on his finish as it went behind for a goal kick. The Red Bulls II had much the better of possession after the break, but wasn’t able to produce many clear-cut chances as from it.
In fact, it was Charlotte that came closest to finding the net, as a deflected cross from the right came to Brown, and his spectacular bicycle kick effort was palmed around the left post by Diaz to keep New York’s deficit at two.
New York looked to find a way back in the final 10 minutes, but were unable to find a similar comeback to their opening game of the season against Toronto. Allen’s shot from distance went over the crossbar, and Junior Flemmings forced a save from Mizell at the left post as the game entered stoppage time. The Independence held firm, however, as they claimed three consecutive victories for the first time in their history.
May 7: New York Red Bulls II at Pittsburgh Riverhounds, 7 p.m. ET, Highmark Stadium
May 7: Charlotte Independence vs. FC Montreal, 7 p.m. ET, Ramblewood Stadium
USLSoccer.com Staff Report
Enzo Martinez, Charlotte Independence – Martinez continued to display a rich vein of form for the Independence as he not only scored for a third consecutive game, but provided the initial cross on Patrick Slogic’s goal that made it 2-0.