MONTCLAIR, N.J. – The New York Red Bulls II and Charleston Battery played to the first draw of the 2021 USL Championship season as the Battery’s Zeiko Lewis found the equalizer in a 1-1 draw at MSU Soccer Park on Friday night.
The Battery made the early going, but the visitors were punished for an early mistake in their own end as New York’s pressure led to an errant pass that arrived invitingly for Jake LaCava to fire home into the left corner of the net from the top of the penalty area to put the Red Bulls II ahead. Charleston almost hit back just past the half-hour mark as the ball was worked from the right to Logan Gdula in space in the left side of the penalty area, only for his shot to slide just wide of the right post.
The Battery produced more chances overall before the halftime break, and that continued into the second half as Ben Di Rosa lashed a shot high and wide four minutes into the second half. Charleston had another big chance in the 64th minute as Lewis’ low cross from the right was turned on goal at close range by Stavros Zarokostas only for Red Bulls II goalkeeper Luca Lewis to make a good point-blank save.
Charleston’s pressure told with 19 minutes to go, though, as Lewis struck. The Bermuda international cleverly received a deflected low cross from the left on the turn to create space for a right-footed shot that found the bottom-left corner of the net against his former club.
The Battery pushed to find a winner and almost grabbed the lead with five minutes to go when second-half substitute Nicque Daley fired a shot just wide of the left post. After one final chance for the Red Bulls II off a header by Mandela Egbo was comfortably claimed by goalkeeper Joe Kuzminsky honors ended even between the Atlantic Division foes.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Ben Di Rosa, Charleston Battery – Di Rosa looked sharp in his professional debut, coming up to record two shots from right back and completing 30 of 38 passes while recording 15 recoveries and four interceptions defensively.
NY – Jake LaCava 10’
CHS – Zeiko Lewis 71’