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RECAP: Red Bulls Survive First-half Disaster, Draw Charlotte FC, 2-2

photo by Matt Kremkau

by Garry Redman

HARRISON, NJ - The Red Bulls managed to survive a dreadful start punctuated by a brace by Ben Bender, only to fight back in the second half in a wild match that ended in a 2-2 draw Wednesday evening at Red Bull Arena. 

The Red Bulls returned to regular season action looking to pick up some ground on the teams in front of them in the Eastern Conference. Separated by only three points, Head Coach Troy Lesesene viewed this homestand as necessary for the team.

The team looked out of sorts right from kickoff. And in the 13th minute, they paid for it dearly as Charlotte goalkeeper Kristian Kahlina delivered a deep ball right to Ben Bender that defender Sean Nealis lost sight of and let loose a left-footed shot that skipped past a flat-footed Carlos Coronel for the match’s first goal. It would be the fourth time this season that the opponents would get on the scoreboard first. The Red Bulls would be on the losing side in those matches.

It would go from bad to worse in the 19th minute as Ben Bender scored again from an inexcusably careless giveaway in front of their own net. For some unexplainable reason, the New York defense stopped playing because they thought the referee would call a foul in the process. But Bender didn’t and picked up the loose ball and blasted it in the back of the net. 

The Red Bulls thought they received a lifeline toward the end of the half but after a check by VAR. This handball was clearly seen by basically everyone in the building and was dismissed, capping off a very frustrating first half for the hosts and their beleaguered supporters. 

Whatever was said by Coach Lesense during halftime worked, for in the 53rd minute of the second half, the Red Bulls finally responded. A great ball was crossed over in the box by Elias Manoel to Dante Vanzier, who knocked in the back of the net for his second goal of the season.

With the goal bringing the team fully back to life, they looked like a very different team as they pressed for the equalizer. And in the 58th minute, they got it. Off a corner, Sean Nealis got a quick pass in the middle of the scrum over to Cameron Harper in the middle of a scrum got it past a diving Kahlina as the momentum swung firmly toward the hosts, with Harper picking up his first goal of the season.

Red Bulls received a scare late in the match. Patrick Agyemang raced down the file with only Coronel to beat, but the Brazilian goalkeeper stood his ground, making the much-needed save and endiCharlotte’se’s attack. 

Thankfully, the official blew his whistle brining the match to an end, with both teams sharing the points. While the final outcome was a welcome relief to some, others felt that the team let an good opportunity slip through their fingers thanks to the dreadful display in the first half. Now the Red Bulls must now look ahead to the match against Atlanta United FC to pick up some much-needed points at home.

Starting XI:

New York Red Bulls: Carlos Coronel: Sean Nealis, Hassan Ndam, Cameron Harper, Kyle Duncan, Frankie Amaya (Daniel Edelman 46’), Peter Stroud (Dante Vanzeir 46’), Wiki Carmona (Omir Fernandez 75’), Cristian Casseres Jr., Luquinhas, Elias Manoel (Tom Barlow 90’)

Charlotte FC: Kristijan Kahlina, Nathan Byrne, Jaylin Lindsey, Guzman Corujo (Jan Sobocinski’66’), Adilson Malanda, Ashley Westwood, Brandt Bronico, Justin Meram (McKinzie Gaines’75’), Ben Bender (Harrison Afful’85’), Enzo Copetti (Patrick Agyemang’85’), Kerwin Vargas (Kamil Jozwiak’66’)

Scoring Summary:
13’ - Charlotte FC - Ben Bender, assisted by Kristijan Kahlina
19’ - Charlotte FC - Ben Bender, assisted by Enzo Copetti
53’ - New York Red Bulls - Dante Vanzier, assisted by Elias Manoel
58’ - New York Red Bulls - Cameron Harper, assisted by Sean Nealis

Disciplinary Summary:
11’ - New York Red Bulls - Sean Nealis - Yellow Card
26’ - New York Red Bulls - Cameron Harper - Yellow Card
43' - Charlotte FC - Guzman Corujo - Yellow Card
45’ - New York Red Bulls - Carlos Coronel - Yellow Card
55’- Charlotte FC - Jaylin Linds - Yellow Card
84’ - Charlotte FC - Brandt Bronico - Yellow Card
88’ - New York Red Bulls - Dante Vanzier - Yellow Card
89' - Charlotte FC - Nathan Byrne - Yellow Card
90’ - Charlotte FC - McKinzie Gaines - Yellow Card


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