Montez Aiken photo.
The Charleston Battery hosts New York Red Bulls II Saturday night at MUSC Health Stadium in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. The two sides will meet for the third time this season in a rematch of last year’s first round playoff match.
Last Time Out
The Charleston Battery snapped a two-game losing streak last Saturday in Canada, defeating Ottawa Fury FC, 2-0, at TD Place Stadium. Gordon Wild and Ian Svantesson found the back of the net, while Robert Beebe earned the clean sheet in his first ever professional start.
New York enters Saturday’s playoff match riding a five-game unbeaten streak. Red Bulls II defeated Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, 2-1, at home on the final day of the regular season to clinch a fifth place finish and a rematch with the Battery. Tom Barlow and Jared Stroud scored to help New York finish the season with three straight wins.
Charleston and New York last met at MUSC Health Stadium on August 25. The game ended in a 4-4 draw despite the 10-man Battery scoring a fifth goal in the dying moments of stoppage time. The Battery jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the match, only to see it quickly evaporate following the referee’s decision to issue a straight red card to Tah Brian Anunga in the 61st minute. A hat-trick from Tom Barlow helped New York battle back to earn a point. Patrick Okonkwo and Ataulla Guerra each scored twice for the Battery.
The Red Bulls took a 5-2 victory over the Battery at Red Bull Arena on March 31. Anunga scored both of Charleston’s goals, while Andrew Tinari, Ben Mines, Amando Moreno, and Brian White found the back of the net for New York.
In last year’s quarterfinal match, the Red Bulls scored three second-half goals to earn a 4-0 win at MUSC Health Stadium and a place in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. New York lost to the eventual champions, Louisville City FC, in penalties in the conference final in 2017.
By the Numbers
The Battery finished with one of the best home records in the Eastern Conference at 10-2-5. In their 17 home games, Charleston conceded twelve goals and earned nine clean sheets. Led by captain Taylor Mueller, the Battery conceded multiple goals in just two games (4-4 vs. NYRBII and 1-2 vs. TFCII) at MUSC Health Stadium this season, finishing with a +12 goal differential at home.
All 14 of the Battery’s wins this season came after scoring the first goal in the match. Guerra scored nine of his fifteen goals at home, seven of which were the first goal of the game.
New York finished the regular season with a 2-5-10 record on the road. Their two wins away from home came at the end of the season against two teams who finished below the playoff line in North Carolina FC and Penn FC.
The Red Bulls finished with the second highest goals scored total in the league with 71, but only 22 of those goals came on the road. They conceded 31 of their 59 goals away from home.
The winner of Saturday’s quarterfinal match will take on the winner of FC Cincinnati and Nashville SC. Should Cincinnati win, both New York and Charleston would travel to Nippert Stadium for the semifinal match, but if Nashville wins, the Battery or Red Bulls would host the second round playoff match.
How to Watch
Saturday’s match will be broadcast locally on MyTV Charleston and streamed live on ESPN+. It is a Dollar Beer Night at MUSC Health Stadium; tickets are 4 for $40 in advance and at the gates.