The New York Red Bulls II strong form at home this season seemed ready to break records, but a last gasp goal from the Charleston Battery snatched a crucial three points from the home side.
The Battery planned to sit back against NYRBII and find chances on the counter. The approach largely worked throughout the night. After missing an early penalty, and an overall poor night for Jared Stroud, NYRBII failed to keep a clean sheet, and dropped two points in a 1-1 draw.
NYRBII suffered a major set back in the fourth minute. Edgardo Rito raced down the right side in possession. O’Brien Woodbine slid in to tackle the ball away. Though he won the ball, he tackled through Rito. The wingback rolled around the ground, with his left ankle clearly broken. Rito’s attacking talent made him a dangerous asset.
Jared Stroud earned NYRBII a penalty kick in the 39th minute. John Tolkin played Stroud in behind the Battery’s Kyle Nelson. Nelson made contact with Stroud, and the midfielder hit the deck. Stroud stepped up to the spot to open the scoring, but he placed his shot poorly, and Joe Kuzminsky easily saved the effort.
NYRBII finally pulled ahead in the 51st minute. After winning the ball near midfield, Omir Fernandez strode unobstructed into the box. Fernandez knocked the ball across the box, finding Mathias Jørgensen in front of an empty net. Jørgensen finished the chance, scoring his 10th goal of the season.
The Battery found the equalizer deep into stoppage time. A.J. Patterson knocked home a header inside the six-yard box, giving the Battery a desperately needed lifeline for their season.
The draw improves NYRBII to (17-5-9) ahead of their final two matches on the road. Indy Eleven and the Pittsburgh Riverhounds could still pass NYRBII by the final weekend of the season, but for now, they remain at the top of the Eastern conference.