Montez Aiken photo.
After being reduced to 10 men in the 61st minute, the Charleston Battery earned a 4-4 draw with New York Red Bulls II Saturday night at MUSC Health Stadium.
Ataulla Guerra scored two first-half goals to bring his season total to 14 and help the Battery to a 3-0 lead heading into the halftime break. Patrick Okonkwo scored Charleston’s other first-half goal in the 28th minute. Okonkwo nodded home a Nico Rittmeyer cross to score his first USL goal of his career.
Following the halftime break, the Battery continued to dominate the match until referee Matt Franz issued a straight red card to Tah Brian Anunga for a coming together at midfield in the 61st minute. Minutes after Franz sent Anunga off, he awarded New York a penalty for a handball in the box. Tom Barlow converted the penalty to make it 3-1.
New York pulled another goal back in the 68th minute through Jose Aguinaga then Barlow scored his second of the game in the 73rd minute to equalize.
After being pinned back in their own defensive third for much of the time following the red card, the Battery earned a corner kick in the 75th minute. Vincenzo Candela served an inswinging corner towards the back post and Okonkwo headed it down past Evan Louro to put the Battery back in front.
Barlow completed his hat-trick in the 88th minute to pull the visitors level again. Barlow rose up and flicked a header from a right-footed cross from the left side that beat Joe Kuzminsky at the near post to make it 4-4.
As injury time wound down, Angelo Kelly scored for the Battery. The ball bounced around the six yard box before Kelly flicked a back heel on frame, forcing Louro to parry it back into the chaos. Kelly finished his own rebound and appeared to put the Battery ahead 5-4, but the referee blew for full time and left the field immediately. The game ended in a 4-4 draw.
“We scored there at the end and if it would have counted we would have gotten the three points,” said Head Coach Mike Anhaeuser. “But we can’t worry about that. We have to take the point and move on. We need to get ourselves organized. Sometimes games like these can frustrate you and make you lose your head a little bit, but we need settle down, move on and get ready for Louisville.”
Following the draw with New York, the Battery will head out on the road to take on Louisville City FC at Slugger Field on Friday, August 31.
CHARLESTON - Joe Kuzminsky, Leland Archer, Taylor Mueller, Neveal Hackshaw, Jay Bolt, Tah Brian Anunga (red card, 61), Angelo Kelly, Nico Rittmeyer, Kotaro Higashi (Skylar Thomas, 70) Patrick Okonkwo (goal, 28, 75; Ian Svantesson, 90), Ataulla Guerra (goal, 22, 45+2; yellow card, 57; Vincenzo Candela, 62)
Substitutes: Odisnel Cooper, Ryan Arambula, Dante Marini, Gordon Wild
NEW YORK - Evan Louro, Lucas Stauffer (Amando Moreno, 86), Wahab Ackwei (yellow card, 90+3), Hassan Ndam, Ethan Kutler (Allen Yanes, 63), Chris Lema, Steven Echevarria, Andrew Tinari, Jarad Stroud, Anatole Abang (Tom Barlow, 63; goal, 64, 73, 88) , Jose Aguinaga (goal, 68)
Substitutes: Scott Levene, Kevin Politz, Niko De Vara