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Gameday Report: August 21, Week 24

By NICHOLAS MURRAY - nicholas.murray@uslsoccer.com, 08/21/18, 9:14PM EDT

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North Carolina scores late equalizer to claim 2-2 draw with Red Bulls II


Photo courtesy New York Red Bulls II

THREE THINGS THAT MATTERED

1. North Carolina FC pulled a road point out of the fire thanks to Donovan Ewolo’s 90th-minute equalizer against the New York Red Bulls II on Tuesday night at MSU Soccer Park to stay in touch with the postseason race in the USL’s Eastern Conference after a 2-2 draw between the sides that had its fair share of drama. New York twice took the lead, but a 69th-minute red card to Ben Mines tilted things in favor of the visitors, and while it looked like an equalizer might not arrive in time, Ewolo’s close-range rebound finish earned his side a point.

2. The Red Bulls II were close to taking what would have been a big victory in terms of their playoff position, but despite a goal and assist by Jose Aguinaga were unable to hold on late as North Carolina’s pressure finally paid off. With a point, New York is now in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, but certainly more vulnerable now than it was with ninth-place Nashville SC only a point back with two games in hand in what remains a very tight race for the postseason.

3. Both teams face key games on Saturday night with North Carolina set to return home to face in-state rival the Charlotte Independence and the Red Bulls II visiting the Charleston Battery in a rematch from last season's USL Cup Playoffs. NCFC and New York will both have a close eye on Wednesday night’s slate of games as well, though, as their rivals for postseason berths take to the field on a packed eight-game slate of action across the league.

GAME REPORT

NEW YORK RED BULLS II (2), NORTH CAROLINA FC (2)

MONTCLAIR, N.J. – North Carolina FC got a 90th-minute equalizer to earn a 2-2 draw against a 10-man New York Red Bulls II side on Tuesday night as Donovan Ewolo struck shortly after coming on as a substitute at MSU Soccer Park. The Red Bulls II were denied the opening goal in the 38th minute when a turnover in the NCFC end came to Jared Stroud, whose shot was turned home at close range by Anatole Abang only for the finish to be ruled out for offside. A minute later, however, Jose Aguinaga picked out the bottom-left corner with a precise finish from 20 yards to put the hosts on top. Jared Stroud almost made it two for the Red Bulls II in first-half stoppage time as he fired just wide of the left post, but 20 seconds into the second half North Carolina leveled as Daniel Rios tucked home a close-range finish from Marcel Kandziora’s low cross from the left for his 13th goal of the season. New York regained the lead in the 53rd minute after a clever passing move sent Lucas Stauffer into the left side of the penalty area to set up a low finish, and Stroud again went close three minutes later as he cut past his defender in the left side of the penalty area but was denied by a diving save by NCFC goalkeeper Alex Tambakis. New York was reduced to 10 men with just over 20 minutes to go when Ben Mines was sent off following an off-the-ball incident, and with a man-advantage North Carolina pushed for an equalizer. New York goalkeeper Evan Louro pulled off a big diving save with a minute to go to keep out a header by Marios Lomis before Tiyi Shipalane sent the rebound over the crossbar, but Ewolo put home a close-range finish in the 90th minute to level the score off a rebound chance to earn a point on the road.

USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Jose Aguinaga, New York Red Bulls II
– Aguinaga had a goal and assist for the Red Bulls II and recorded there key passes overall in a good attacking performance for the hosts.

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