Red Bull II’s comeback fell short. (Photo courtesy of Red Bull II)

MONTCLAIR, N.J. — Ten-man Red Bull II dug itself a two-goal hole in the opening half as it dropped a 2-1 decision to North Carolina FC in a USL Championship game at MSU Soccer Park Friday night.

NYRBII (20 points) dropped to 6-3-2 while North Carolina (19) improved to 5-2-4.

The hosts were forced to play a little more than a half hour with a man disadvantage as Ulrich Ewolo was issued a straight red card in the 59th minute before 941 spectators.

Sam Brotherton opened the scoring, converting a Ben Speas corner kick in the 14th minute.

Coached by former U.S. men’s national coach Dave Sarachan, the visitors doubled their lead when Steven Miller netted a goal in the 38th minute.

Red Bull II sliced the lead in half in the 77th minute, as Jared Stroud tallied his fifth goal this season.

Sal Esposito NYRB II debut in the 85th minute, replacing Ben Mines.

NYRB II will continue its homestand when its hosts Bethlehem Steel Friday, May 31 at 7 p.m.