The New York Red Bulls II earned another critical win at home in a tightly contested match against the Charlotte Independence.
Mathias Jørgensen and Jared Stroud provided the scoring, but the Independence fought hard to climb back. Despite the Independence best efforts, NYRBII held on for their 17th win of the season, 2-0.
The teams started at a frantic pace. Both teams pressed furiously, and looked for chances in transition. The Independence gained more meaningful ground in the opening minutes, but only by a slim margin. The approach set the match up as a war of attrition, but the pace settled down following the opening assault from the visitors, and a more familiar defense first plan from the Independence.
NYRBII defied the defensive leanings of the Independence and opened the scoring in the 15th minute. Jared Stroud carried the ball forward after the Independence coughed up the ball at midfield. Stroud drew in his defender, then passed to Mathias Jørgensen. Jørgensen took a touch than sent a low shot into the back of the net for his ninth goal of the season.
NYRBII controlled the remainder of the first half following the goal. The Independence struggled in possession, turning the ball over under heavy pressure and surrendering numerous chances. Failing to finish those chances kept the match from being a blowout early, and gave the Independence glimmers of hope.
Evan Louro kept NYRBII ahead in the second half, coming up big on a few occasions. Most notably, Louro stood tall on a dangerous one on one opportunity against Jorge Herrera. NYRBII were exposed on a counter attack, but Louro bravely left his line, closing down the angle.
Jared Stroud put the match away in the 82nd minute with his 20th goal for NYRBII (13th on the season). It was a beautiful curling shot from the top of the box, and Brandon Miller could only watch it fly into the net. Stroud became the first NYRBII player to reach a career 20 goals and 20 assists in USL.
The win keeps NYRBII in first place for the weekend ahead of both the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Indy Eleven. Next, NYRBII head out on the road to take on Saint Louis FC and Louisville FC.
Photo by Bill Twomey Photography