Facing elimination from playoff contention, Charleston Battery substitute midfielder A.J. Patterson rose to the occasion - literally - deep in stoppage time with a headed goal off Vincenzo Candela's cross to equalize and eventually help seal a 1-1 draw against New York Red Bulls II. After a scoreless first half, New York forward Mathias Jorgenson's tap-in broke the deadlock after 51 minutes, but Patterson's late heroics saved Charleston in the nick of time as their playoff pursuit continues.
MONTCLAIR, N.J. – The Charleston Battery got the result they needed to keep its playoff hopes alive, stealing a point against New York Red Bulls II after a late goal earned it a 1-1 draw at MSU Soccer Park at Pittser Field. The game started off an unfortunate note when, in the fourth minute, a heavy challenge on NYRBII defender Edgardo Rito resulted in the player being stretchered off due to a serious injury, which forced the hosts into an early change. As the two teams settled back into the half, though, the Battery were the first to create a quality opportunity when they attempted to hit on the break in the 23rd minute but forward Ataulla Guerra could not finish off the move, instead sending his effort wide of NYRBII goalkeeper Evan Louro’s near post. Trading chances, New York then got their opportunity in the first half when Jared Stroud drew a penalty after 38 minutes, but Charleston goalkeeper Joe Kuzminsky saved the tame attempt from the spot by Stroud to keep the score level. Still scoreless through halftime, the hosts came out the stronger of the two sides and opened the scoring in the 51st minute when midfielder Omir Fernandez attempted to finish off a quick move and ended up finding forward Mathias Jorgenson a couple of yards from goal, who got the goal from close in. New York would have an opportunity to double their lead in the 66th minute when Jorgenson was sent in by midfielder Christopher Lema, but Kuzminsky came up with a point blank save after Jorgenson’s touch led him just a hair wide on the right. Charleston would have one more quality chance in stoppage as midfielder Vincenzo Candela recycled in a cleared corner kick and picked out substitute A.J. Patterson, who beat Louro from a few yards out to level the scoring at the death. With the draw, Charleston kept their playoff hopes alive and Red Bulls II opened a one-point gap at the top, though competitors Indy Eleven have two games in hand and the Tampa Bay Rowdies have one game in hand with time still to make a difference.
USL Championship Man of the Match
Mathias Jorgenson, New York Red Bulls II – Jorgenson was New York’s main contributor in attack, scoring their lone goal and creating three chances, while also winning his lone aerial duel in 90 minutes of action.