The New York Red Bulls II had a spectacular comeback thanks to Tom Barlow after falling into an early deficit to the Charleston Battery.
The Battery jumped out to a three goal lead before the half, but settled for a 4-4 draw with NYRBII.
Barlow brings the ‘Baby Bulls’ back from the brink against Battery
Tom Barlow’s substitute appearance gave NYRBII three goals.
The Battery got on the board first after a well worked counter attack in the 22nd minute. The Red Bulls defense collapsed on the left side of the field. The Battery switched fields to break out on the counter attack. Jay Bolt used the space down the right side of the Red Bulls defense, sending a low cross to Atuella Guerra at the top of the box. Guerra finished first time past the onrushing Evan Louro.
The Battery doubled their advantage six minutes later. This time, Hassan Ndam failed to track Patrick Okonkwo at the back post. A perfectly placed cross by NIcholas Rittmeyer found the head of a diving Okonkwo for the second goal.
Guerra doubled his tally just before halftime. Once again, the Battery exploited the NYRBII’s defensive disorganization, and sprang another counter attack. Guerra calmly finished past Louro again. The central defense of NYRBII conceded its 11th goal in their last 225 minutes, a main theme in their recent struggles.
The second half changed everything for NYRBII.
In the 61st minute, Tah Anuga received a red card for kicking Steven Echevarria in the face. The man advantage allowed NYRBII the advantage they desperately needed.
Three minutes later, a handball in the box gifted NYRBII a penalty kick. Tom Barlow made the goalkeeper dive the wrong way and finished the first of his three goals on the night. Four minutes later, Jose Aguinaga tapped in a cross from Jared Stroud at the near post. Barlow added his second of the night on a well placed header in the 73rd minute on a cross from Allen Yanes.
With the match tied at three, the NYRBII once again let their guard down, and surrendered a fourth goal. Poor marking on a corner kick allowed Patrick Okonkwo to redirect the corner past Louro in the 75th minute.
The Battery bunkered after the go ahead goal, and they were punished for parking the bus. Barlow scored the equalizer two minutes from time. Wahab Ackwei served in a cross from deep, and Barlow managed to put a looping header past Joe Kuzminksi.
The match ended with fireworks. The Battery seemingly scored the winner in the 90+4th minute, but the referee called a foul in the box. The resulting restart marked the last kick of the match. The refs left the field while the teams clashed in the center of the pitch. It is not clear what started the incident, but it is highly unusual that the officials left during the clash.
In any event, NYRBII go to 9-7-10 on the season and head back home to take on the Ottawa Fury on August 31st.
Man of the match
Tom Barlow entered the match and turned it on its head. Barlow’s first hat trick for NYRBII salvaged a road point from a match that was surely lost in the first half. The first year striker is finding his way lately, and NYRBII are glad he is.
Photo by Bill Twomey Photography