Battery, Red Bulls II share the points in entertaining draw

The Charleston Battery and New York Red Bulls II ended all square after 90 minutes of a back and forth, open game on Saturday night.

The first half was much a war of attrition, with both teams testing the other. By many accounts, New York had the better possession, while the Battery had the better chances.

However, it was the Red Bulls who would have the first chance. Odisnel Cooper was forced into a point blank save from a corner in the 21st minute, which was headed for the top corner but for the ‘Keeper’s intervention after a Red Bulls player was the only man to meet the set piece.

The scoring was opened as the first half drew to a close after Dane Kelly used his strength to beat Andrew Jean-Baptiste, finding Houston Dynamo loanee Memo Rodriguez at the top of the box, whose shot seemingly took a deflection and beat Rafael Diaz in the Red Bulls goal.

After the half-time break, the Red Bulls came out with a plan to make the most of the possession they’d had in the first half.

It didn’t take all that long for NYRBII to threaten, getting an indirect free kick inside the box for an illegal backpass just five minutes into the first half.

Whilst it hit the wall and was eventually cleared, the pressure didn’t stop there. The Battery defense were being pushed farther and farther back by the Red Bulls’ pressure, and it invited a shot from long range, which Odisnel Cooper had to tip over the bar acrobatically to keep the scores level.

The Battery would counter well in the 63rd, with Quinton Griffith playing an excellent early ball looking for second half sub Ricky Garbanzo, which failed to find its target but fell to Dane Kelly, who hit the post, and Sebastien Turiere skied his shot from just outside the box.

And the Red Bulls would make them pay for the miss when a free kick was played into the box, and Anatole Abang rose at the near post to level the scoring in the 68th minute.

The goal seemed inevitable as NYRBII had come out from half time the much better side, and were finally rewarded for their efforts.

With 15 minutes to go, the Battery had a chance to go back in front when a fast counter led to a break away from Ricky Garbanzo, who tore away from inside his own half, getting the ball and beating every defender for pace before his final touch let him down and Rafael Diaz was able to collect.

Garbanzo went down from the ensuing contact, but center official Daniel Fitzgerald decided the keeper won the ball cleanly.

With just over six minutes to go in the match, the Red Bulls looked to have had a winner after jumping first to a header and beating Cooper in the Battery goal, only to have the ball cleared off the line.

The Red Bulls then had a chance off the counter in stoppage time, with goalscorer Abang through on goal after beating his man by holding off a challenge, but Abang’s finish was just wide of the post.

It was the Battery who had the final chance of the evening, when Justin Portillo’s shot from just outside the box was saved only to find Ricky Garbanzo, but his rebound hit the outside of the post just before the final whistle blew.

The Battery were without captain Jarad van Schaik in midfield as well as Navion Boyd, the former training during the week but was left out of the side as a precaution due to a knee problem. Boyd injured his ankle in training, and did not train.

The match ended as an entertaining 1-1 draw. The Battery travel to Wilmington to take on the Hammerheads on Sunday, April 26th, while the Red Bulls next return home on Wednesday April 22nd against the Richmond Kickers.

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