CHARLESTON, S.C. – Red Bulls II began their United Soccer League title defense with a 4-0 playoff road victory over the No. 2 seed Charleston Battery at MUSC Health Stadium Saturday night.
Seventh-seeded NYRB II snapped a 14-game Charleston undefeated home streak in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
New York reached the conference semifinals against the Tampa Bay Rowdies at Al Lang Stadium Saturday in St. Petersburg, Fla. Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
“I feel like we’ve gained some confidence over the last few weeks,” NYRBII head coach John Wolyniec said. “We showed a lot of that tonight, we beat a good team on the road at their place where they have been good. A lot of weapons on their side of the field. We scored great goals. Hopefully, our guys feel really confident going forward because I really think we can go far.”
Stefano Bonomo opened the scoring in the 39th minute, recording his 11th goal in 14 appearances. A Junior Flemmings cross found Stefano for a diving header past goalkeeper Odisnel Cooper.
In the 51st minute, Ethan Kutler, a converted college striker playing left back, scored his first professional goal off an Arun Basuljevic corner kick that was dummied by captain Dan Metzger and rifled home to double the lead.
“Feels great to get the win and also my first professional goal in such a big game,” Kutler said. “The first playoff wins for me as well. There are a lot of rookies in the team so we had a good show from everybody tonight. Tampa is in form, but we’ve proven tonight that we can keep a clean sheet and score goals. We have been scoring a lot and our confidence is sky high.”
Striker Romario Williams had the hosts’ best opportunity in the 69th minute, missing an open net that caught Hassan Ndam and Jordan Scarlett off guard.
Two minutes later, NYRB II added another as Florian Valot followed up on a Bonomo shot that fell to his feet. He then slotted it home for his eighth goal in his last nine matches.
Red Bulls Academy product Ben Mines, who replaced Basuljevic, produced a goal of his own in the 84th minute. He scored on his first touch for his second goal this season.
“The last two months we’ve been trying to find a complete game performance and tonight was probably the closest we’ve come to that,” midfielder Andrew Tinari said. “Once we went 2-0, we kept pushing which we have struggled in the past games.”
New York: 39′ – NY – Stefano Bonomo (Junior Flemmings), 51′ – NY – Ethan Kutler (Arun Basuljevic), 71′ – NY – Florian Valot, 84′ – NY – Ben Mines (Andrew Tinari)
New York: Junior Flemmings 82′ caution
Charleston: Tah Anunga 57′ caution, Quinton Griffith 85′ caution
New York: Louro, Kutler, Ndam, Scarlett, Najem, Basuljevic (Ben Mines, 83rd minute), Metzger, Tinari, Flemmings (Zeiko Lewis, 88th minute, Valot, Bonomo (Tim Schmoll, 90th minute)
Charleston: Cooper, Griffith, Mueller, Lasso, Woodbine (Nicholas Rittmeyer, 74th minute), Higashi (Ricky Garbanzo, 83rd minute), Portillo, Anunga (Heviel Cordoves, 58th minute), van Schaik, Guerra, Williams