Photo courtesy Charleston Battery
CHARLESTON, S.C. – The New York Red Bulls II took a 2-1 victory against the Charleston Battery on Saturday night in front of a sellout crowd of 5,534 fans at MUSC Health Stadium, completing a record-setting regular season campaign. The game opened brightly at both ends, and Charleston’s Maikel Chang sent a rising shot over the crossbar in the 12th minute. The game remained relatively open, but New York took the lead in the 38th minute when Vincent Bezecourt curled home a free kick from 25 yards into the right corner of the net. Chang sent a low shot that was saved by Ryan Meara moments later for the Battery, but the hosts got back on level terms five minutes into the second half as Dante Marini scored after his first shot had been blocked to make it 1-1. The Red Bulls II’s Brandon Allen and Derrick Etienne Jr. combined to almost restore the visitors’ lead 13 minutes later, only the have their chance snuffed out, but with 15 minutes to go Etienne was brought down in the penalty area and Allen stepped up to score his 15th goal of the season from the spot.
38’ – NY – Vincent Bezecourt
50’ – CHS – Dante Marini
75’ – NY – Brandon Allen (PK)
Three Things That Matter:
1. The Battery entered Saturday’s game with the chance to earn a home playoff contest, but the side’s defeat ruled that out no matter the results elsewhere for Charlotte and Rochester. Despite the defeat, though, the Battery still had moments when they looked dangerous, especially when Maikel Chang was on the ball, but the side will need to find a way to adjust to the absence of midfielder Justin Portillo – announced earlier on Saturday – and tighten up defensively if it is to make a run on the road in the playoffs.
2. The Red Bulls II could have come into this game with a relaxed attitude, but this is a team that as we’ve seen over the course of the season that doesn’t seem to dial it down in any situation. New York hasn’t lost since the end of July, and went 9-0-1 over the final two months of the season to set USL records in total wins (21), total points (69) and total goals (61). They’ll now await either Wilmington Hammerheads FC or Orlando City B next weekend ready to carry their outstanding regular season into the playoffs.
3. Charleston, meanwhile, will head to Cincinnati next Sunday afternoon to open the postseason as the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Battery might welcome that matchup, however, as they have fared well against FCC previously this season. Charleston took a 1-0 win in FCC’s first game in the USL back in March at MUSC Health Stadium, and the side also earned a 1-1 draw in its first visit to Nippert Stadium in July.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Vincent Bezecourt, New York Red Bulls II – Bezecourt’s free kick was an outstanding strike, but the midfielder also continued his strong recent run of form with a good display outside of that before being replaced in the second half.
Charleston Battery – Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, at No. 3 FC Cincinnati - Sunday, Oct. 2, 4 p.m. ET – Nippert Stadium
New York Red Bulls II – Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, TBA