Photo courtesy Zach Bland / Charleston Battery
CHARLESTON, S.C. – Stefano Bonomo scored a second-half equalizer as the New York Red Bulls II played to a 1-1 draw with the Charleston Battery at MUSC Health Stadium on Saturday night. The Battery created the first big chance in the 24th minute as Maikel Chang found space on the right of the penalty area, but Red Bulls II defender Jordan Scarlett slid in well to block behind for a corner. New York threatened more as the first half went on, however, as Ethan Kutler’s long-range effort deflected away for a corner eight minutes before the break, but the Battery almost grabbed the lead in the 41st minute as Forrest Lasso’s header went just over the crossbar off a free kick by Justin Portillo. Charleston took the lead in final minute of the first half, though, as Romario Williams put home Ataulla Guerra’s unselfish pass for his 15th goal of the season. New York’s Zeiko Lewis tried from distance to find an equalizer in the 58th minute, only for Battery goalkeeper Odisnel Cooper to save comfortably, and Lewis also had a chance to capitalize on a mistake, only to get his footwork wrong moments later. The Red Bulls II leveled in the 72nd minute, however, as Stefano Bonomo instinctively redirected home a shot by Florian Valot and curled his finish into the right corner. The Battery were reduced to 10 men with four minutes to go as O’Brian Woodbine was sent off for his second yellow card, and New York then had a late chance to take the lead from a free kick 20 yards out, but Fidel Escobar’s shot came back off the wall. Junior Flemming and Lewis also had chances flash wide late, too, but New York was unable to find a winner as the Battery held out for a point.
45’ – CHS – Romario Williams (Ataulla Guerra)
72’ – NY – Stefano Bonomo (Florian Valot)
Three Things That Matter:
1. The contrast in styles between the sides was evident throughout the first half, as the Red Bulls II had more possession, but wasn’t able to create a decisive chance despite possessing the ball well in the Battery’s half. Charleston, meanwhile, wasn’t able to string passes together as well as their visitors, but when the Battery got the chance to strike, they took advantage. A beautiful through-ball by Justin Portillo set up the opening goal as Ataulla Guerra beat the offside trap to get in behind, and while he could have taken the chance himself, he elected to slip in Romario Williams for as simple a finish as the Jamaican could have hoped for on his 15th of the season.
2. New York continued to carry the play in the second half, and were finally rewarded for their efforts with a good – if somewhat fortunate – finish by Stefano Bonomo to continue his recent run of good form. After a good build-up down the left side, a good shooting chance opened up for Florian Valot, only for the French midfielder to scuff his shot. The mishit turned into a perfect pass, however, as Bonomo instinctive right-footed chip with his back almost to goal sent the ball spinning into the right corner of the net giving Charleston goalkeeper Odisnel Cooper little chance.
3. New York had the better of the play overall, but both teams will be disappointed not to have earned a victory on Saturday night given their respective place in the Eastern Conference standings. With the Red Bulls II desperate for any points it can get as it looks for a third consecutive trip to the postseason – and the chance to defend their USL Cup of a season ago – wins are becoming essential, especially when the side has the better of the game as it did on Saturday. For the Battery, the club’s seven-game undefeated streak is now a serious concern as the side tried to fight for first place with a long road trip ahead.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Stefano Bonomo, New York Red Bulls II – Bonomo’s third goal of the season earned the Red Bulls II a point they certainly deserved as the visitors had the better of the contest overall.
Charleston Battery at Rochester Rhinos – August 19, 6:05 p.m. ET, Capelli Sport Stadium
New York Red Bulls II vs. FC Cincinnati – August 19, 4 p.m. ET, MSU Soccer Park