Set pieces were the difference as the Charleston Battery fell to New York Red Bulls II, 2-1, Sunday afternoon at MSU Soccer Park.
The Battery’s unbeaten streak was halted at eight matches despite scoring the game’s opening goal on the stroke of halftime. Dante Marini did well to earn a free kick at the top of New York’s box, giving Justin Portillo the chance to push Charleston in front just before the break. Portillo beat the wall and beat the goalkeeper, bending the free kick past Ryan Meara at the near post.
New York Red Bulls II clawed back into the match with two set piece goals of their own in the second half. The first came from a corner kick as Juinor Flemmings rose above everyone to nod Vincent Bezecourt’s inswinging delivery in at Odisnel Cooper’s near post.
The two sides traded scoring chances following the equalizer and New York capitalized in the 75th minute through Derrick Etienne. The New York Red Bulls loanee stepped up to a free kick just outside Charleston’s penalty area and bent it around the wall and in at Cooper’s near post, in similar fashion to Portillo’s first half goal.
The hosts held on to the one-goal advantage and earned three points at home for the fourth time this season. The Battery remain in first place in the Eastern Conference despite suffering their first since April 8th and first on the road this season.
Charleston will look to bounce back quickly as they play the Jacksonville Armada Wednesday night in the US Open Cup at Southern Oak Stadium. The Battery return home next Saturday, June 3rd for a match against Louisville City FC at MUSC Health Stadium.