CHARLESTON, S.C. – The New York Red Bulls II broke a three-game losing streak to take a 3-2 victory against the Charleston Battery on Wednesday night at Patriots Point that saw the visitors maintain their undefeated record all-time in their visits to Charleston in the Championship’s regular season.
Looking to break a four-game winless streak, Charleston went close to opening the scoring in just the fifth minute when Geobel Perez fired a shot from 25 yards off the left post before Red Bulls II goalkeeper AJ Marcucci was able to claim the rebound. Marcucci was called into action again eight minutes later as Perez fired a shot from 10 yards on target after good work down the left by Joel Bunting, only for the goalkeeper to parry the effort away.
Instead it was the visitors that took the lead in the 14th minute when Serge Ngoma stole possession near the halfway line and broke toward the penalty area before rounding Charleston goalkeeper Joe Kuzminsky to his right and finishing from a narrow angle into the open net. Six minutes later the Red Bulls II upped the pressure on their hosts as a cross from the right by Mandela Egbo reached Jake LaCava in the left side of the penalty area, where he took a shot that deflected home off a defender for a two-goal lead.
The Battery pulled back into the game 11 minutes before halftime, though, as a free kick from the right deflected off a defender in a challenge at the near post and caromed kindly for Bunting, who headed home from inside the six-yard area. New York restored its two-goal lead less than two minutes into the second half, however, as another cross from the right by Egbo found Jeremy Rafanello for a header at the top of the six-yard area that Kusminsky couldn’t keep out.
Charleston tried to hit back again in the 57th minute as Burke Fahling fired a shot from 25 yards that was tipped over the crossbar by Marcucci for a corner kick, while six minutes later Robbie Crawford deftly controlled a clearance out of the penalty area and fired back on target only to be denied as well. Crawford then set up another chance for Zeiko Lewis in the 69th minute with a well-weighted ball over the New York back line, but the Bermuda international’s shot went over as the defense recovered to pressure.
The hosts pulled a goal back with 10 minutes to go as a free kick from the left by Fahling was met by a diving header by Leland Archer, whose finish went off the underside of the crossbar and just crossed the line as it caromed down for his first goal in the USL Championship. Charleston was unable to find a threatening chance for an equalizer in the following minutes, though, and almost conceded a fourth as Mathias Jorgensen set up Luther Archimede for a back-post finish with a low cross from the right in stoppage time, only for Kuzminsky to make an outstanding full-stretch save. That proved the last notable chances, however, as the Battery’s playoff chance took another substantial hit.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Mandela Egbo, New York Red Bulls II – Egbo recorded a pair of assists for the visitors and had four key passes overall while winning 13 of 21 duels and completing 30 of 39 passes overall.
NY – Serge Ngoma 14’
NY – Jake LaCava (Mandela Egbo) 20’
CHS – Joel Bunting 34’
NY – Jeremy Rafanello (Mandela Egbo) 47’
CHS – Leland Archer (Burke Fahling) 80’