The Charleston Battery’s 2017 season came to a demoralizing end with a 4-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls II
The Battery came up against last year;s champions after securing the second seed in the playoffs having won last week against the Charlotte Independence, but on the whole seemed shocked all through the night and paid the price.
The Battery started fast, with an eighth minute cross in by Obi Woodbine fell to Romario Williams, but his shot was blocked and cleared away.
A great ball over the top by Kotaro Higashi fell to Attaula Guerra in stride, but as the ‘keeper came out to claim, Guerra’s attempt at a chip would go just wide.
But it wasn’t long after that New York would wake up. A ball short from a free kick went into the box and was headed just wide.
On the half hour mark, it was Justin Portillo who created a chance from a Higashi short pass at the top of the box, but his shot from distance went wide.
The Red Bulls had a corner cleared on 34′ as they contunued to threaten.
And then, on 39′, Junior Flemings possessed a short throw in and cross in well to Stefano Bonomo, who stretched out for the diving header and finished far post to go in front.
The Battery were behind after starting well, and it was a punch to the gut, especially so close to half time.
A corner late on in first half stoppage time threatened again for the Red Bulls, but a free kick was given by the referee just before the half time whistle blew.
However, the Red Bulls would come out the better team in the second half, and would execute another body blow to the home side just five minutes after the break.
A corner from the right by Arun Basuljevic was dummied and fell to the feet of Ethan Kutler who expertly picked out the top corner past a helpless Odisnel Cooper.
Shortly after, Tah Brian Anunga was replaced by Heviel Cordoves, as there was no hiding from the fact that the Battery needed a push yo front to get any sort of result out of the game.
The Battery had a free kick on 63′, and the big bodies found their way into the box in what was a chance to get themselves back into the game. However, a looping cross was headed down and straight to the ‘keeper and the ball was cleared.
On 67′ came probably the Battery’s best chance of the second half, when Attaula Guerra’s low cross from the right was flicked on inadvertantly on goal by a defender, but the ‘keeper would claim.
Two minutes later, Romario Williams would do well to get past two defenders, but would put the ball high over the bar as he went for the chip over the on rushing ‘keeper.
And on 71′, it would only get worse. Odisnel Cooper originally made a good save to deny a goal on the counter for the visitors, but could only parry into the path of Florian Valot, who made it 3-0. Valot had had a decent night, and was at the heart of everything good for the Red Bulls, and probably deserved his goal.
An 84th minute goal from substitute Austin Mines would make it four as the Battery would end their season on a very low note.
The Battery return for the 2018 season as they host the Carolina Challenge Cup in February, and we look forward to the new year with renewed vigor in hopes that we can look back on this loss as the start of a learning curve into bigger and better things.
TOP IMAGE: ATTAULA GUERRA SHOOTS EARLY ON IN THE PLAYOFF LOSS TO NEW YORK. PHOTOS CREDIT ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY