Photo courtesy of Rich Graessle / New York Red Bulls II
MONTCLAIR, N.J. – Two of the stronger offenses in the Eastern Conference didn’t necessarily have the spark that fans have been used to seeing on Saturday, but the New York Red Bulls II and Charleston Battery did provide some well-crafted set-piece strikes. Ultimately, it was host NYRB II that put an end to its three-game losing streak as Junior Flemmings and Derrick Etienne Jr. each struck in the second half to rally New York to a 2-1 victory against the East-leading Battery. Flemmings’ free-kick strike in the 75th minute served as the winner. Charleston’s Justin Portillo had the lone goal for the visiting side, which lost for just the second time this season and saw its seven-game unbeaten streak come to an end. New York improves to 4-5-2 (14 points) overall and 4-3-0 at home (4-1-0 at MSU Soccer Park). The Battery, still in first place in the conference, move to 7-2-2 (23 points) overall and 3-1-1 on the road.
45’ – CHS – Justin Portillo
54’ – NY – Junior Flemmings (Vincent Bezecourt)
75’ – NY – Derrick Etienne Jr.
#NYvCHS: Full match and Opta box score
Three Things That Mattered:
1. The Red Bulls II held more than 60 percent of the possession throughout the match, and Junior Flemmings was certainly one of the most active players in both halves for the host team. He finally found the back of the net in the 54th minute. Vincent Bezecourt’s corner kick from the left was driven into the middle of the box and from 10 yards out, and Flemmings headed the ball into the upper left corner of the frame to tie the score at 1-1. Derrick Etienne Jr., making just his third appearance for the USL side, followed up with a beauty of a free kick in the 75th minute. Etienne and Bezecourt were both set up near the ball, and it was Etienne taking a right-footed shot that rose over the wall bent away from Battery goalkeeper Odisnel Cooper and into the back of the net for the winner.
2. Justin Portillo, the Battery’s set-piece extraordinaire, had been limited to some long-distance chances for much of the first half. When Charleston drew a foul just above the box, Portillo went right for the net and cashed in. His bending 45th-minute strike from 20 yards out found the left of the frame and was well out of reach of NYRB II goalkeeper Ryan Meara to give the Battery the 1-0 lead heading into halftime. That was the only shot on frame for the Battery in the first 45 minutes.
3. Atlanta United homegrown midfielder Chris Goslin made his USL debut with the Battery on Saturday. He turned 17 years old just 16 days earlier. Goslin played 79 minutes and while his name wasn’t heavily in the mix, Goslin put in a sturdy effort. Goslin tried an ambitious strike from distance in the 72nd minute, and his passing accuracy was over 85 percent.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:
Junior Flemmings, New York Red Bulls II – Flemmings was one of the most consistent threats against a Battery defense that presented a challenge against NYRB II’s talented attack.
New York Red Bulls II at Richmond Kickers – June 3, 7 p.m. ET, City Stadium
Charleston Battery vs. Louisville City FC – June 3, 7 p.m. ET, MUSC Health Stadium