The Charleston Battery pulled out a late equalizer to split points with New York Red Bulls II in a 1-1 draw on Friday night at MSU Soccer Park. The point keeps Charleston's playoff hopes alive with four matches remaining in the regular season.
Ataulla Guerra nearly opened the scoring for Charleston in the 23rd minute, firing a low shot inches wide of the left post. The Trinidad forward put himself in an excellent position after receiving a lovely pass from Zeiko Lewis and using his quick feet to find a few yards of space just inside the eighteen-yard box. John Tolkin challenged Guerra at the top of the box but Guerra was able to move away from the weak tackle. The Battery finished the first half with four first-half shots; none of which were on target.
New York's Jarad Stroud had a night to forget. Leading the team in goals and assists, Stroud had a team-high seven shots but only three were on target including his missed penalty in the 40th minute. Stroud was pulled down in the box by Kyle Nelson and stepped up to take the ensuing penalty. The midfielder's attempt was straight down the middle and into the hands of Joe Kuzminsky who held his line.
The first half finished 0-0 but was overshadowed by a serious leg injury suffered by Red Bulls II defender, Edgardo Rito, two minutes into the match. Rito and O'Brian Woodbine battled for a loose ball down the right side of Charleston's defensive third and a sliding challenge from Woodbine saw Rito awkwardly go to ground. Rito would eventually be taken off on a stretcher and was replaced by Sean McSherry.
Mathias Jorgensen, who scored against the Battery in the teams reverse fixture, made it 1-0 to the hosts in the 50th minute. Stroud squeezed a pass through the Battery's backline and into the penalty area with Omir Fernandez getting on the end of Stroud's ball. Fernandez was challenged by a charging Kuzminsky and did well to get the ball up and over Charleston's keeper. Jorgensen, who was next to Fernandez in the box, jumped on the attempted chip and slotted home into an empty net.
Trailing by a goal, coach Anhaeuser made three attacking substitutions prior to the 75th minute. AJ Paterson would come on for Woodbine in the 62nd minute and go on to score the match tying goal in the final minute of stoppage time. Tah Brian Anunga did well to recycle a failed clearance from the Red Bulls and found Vincenzo Candela with a smart pass out on the wing. Candela picked out Paterson with a perfect cross and the defender headed home for his second goal of the season to draw level with Red Bulls II at the death.