Photo courtesy Zach Bland / Charleston Battery
CHARLESTON, S.C. – Two former USL Cup-winners will meet for the first time in the USL Cup Playoffs when the No. 2-seed Charleston Battery play host to the No. 7-seed New York Red Bulls II in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at MUSC Stadium on Saturday night. The defending champion Red Bulls II enter as the lower seed, but might take confidence from its success against the Battery in the regular season that saw New York claim the regular season series. Kickoff in #CHSvNY is set for 7 p.m. ET and the game can be seen live on the USL Match Center.
The @Chas_Battery earned their highest seed in USL Cup Playoffs history thanks to its victory last Saturday night against the Charlotte Independence, which edged the 2012 USL Cup champion past the Tampa Bay Rowdies into second place in the Eastern Conference. Charleston has once again been excellent at MUSC Stadium, going 10-1-5 in the regular season, and boasting both a 14-game undefeated streak and five-game playoff winning streak on its home turf. The side’s experienced lineup is looking to mark the Battery’s 25th anniversary season with a fifth league championship and second USL Cup, with Charleston's most recent championship having come in the same season as its 20th anniversary.
@NYRBII could prove a test for both of those streaks, however, with New York having put in a solid late run to return to the playoffs for a third consecutive season. After claiming both the USL Regular Season Championship and USL Cup a season ago, the Red Bulls II have been more unbalanced as a side this year, with a stellar attack being paired with a defense that has been far from watertight. New York has also struggled on the road this season with only three wins away from MSU Soccer Park, a big contrast to its record-setting away record a year ago. With that said, the Red Bulls II did emerge from its visit to Charleston with a 1-1 draw thanks to a goal by Stefano Bonomo, who is among the league’s hottest forwards going into the playoffs.
2,880 – The Charleston Battery’s Taylor Mueller and Justin Portillo played every minute of the regular season, the only teammates to do so out of the five players to accomplish the feat this year.
99.2 – New York Red Bulls II forward Stefano Bonomo has averaged a goal every 99.2 minutes this season, the only player in the league with double-digit goals to fall under the 100-minute mark.
Charleston (4-2-3-1) – GK: Odisnel Cooper; D: Quinton Griffith, Taylor Mueller, Forrest Lasso, Jarad van Schaik; DM: Justin Portillo, Tah Anunga; AM: Maikel Chang, Ataulla Guerra, Kotaro Higashi; F: Romario Williams
New York (4-2-3-1) – GK: Evan Louro; D: David Najem, Hassan Ndam, Jordan Scarlett, Noah Powder; DM: Dan Metzger, Andrew Tinari; AM: Florian Valot, Vincent Bezecourt, Junior Flemmings; F: Stefano Bonomo
Charleston – None
New York – None
REF: KEVIN BROADLEY
AR1: Jordan Davis
AR2: Ryan Graves
4TH: Dallas Rosier