New York Red Bulls II went down to North Carolina for a match against the Charlotte Independence and came away with a 2-2 draw thanks to goals from Franklin Castellanos and Leo Stolz.
The Baby Bulls got on the board in the 5th minute when Castellanos corralled a throw-in and blasted the ball into the net. Charlotte responded with a 24th minute goal when striker Dominique Badji beat goalkeeper Rafael Diaz one-v-one and chipped the ball over him. Despite Charlotte continuing to press, the match went into halftime tied.
Badji scored his second of the match, finishing an Enzo Martinez cross, putting the Independence up 2-1. However, the Red Bulls were able to tie things up in the 73rd minute. Marius Obekop found a wide open Stolz in the box, who proceeded to calmly place the ball into the side netting. The visitors continued to push for a game winner, but the match ended 2-2.
The Baby Bulls (9-7-5) are currently in fifth place in the Eastern Conference with 32 points, seven points ahead of the seventh place Harrisburg City Islanders. Charlotte is in eighth place with 24 points.
These two sides will meet again on Wednesday, August 12th at Red Bull Arena.
Probably an off day
These matches happen. Both teams were sloppy and the run of play was going back and forth the whole match. Blame it on the midweek match and the travel, but at least the Baby Bulls came away with a point. However, they won't be able to make excuses come playoff time. So if NYRB II is going to under-perform on the road against inferior teams, hopefully they do it now instead of during the playoffs.
The Dover, New Jersey native is becoming harder and harder to ignore. He started the match off with a fantastic individual effort, taking a shot in traffic and blasting it past the Charlotte keeper. When he first came out of college, scouts raved about his explosiveness and big play ability. The concerns have always been about whether or not the Iona College star could put in consistent performances and not disappear for weeks at a time. With New York Red Bulls II, it appears that he's starting to become a well-rounded professional and could find his way to MLS sooner rather than later.
Oh hi, Leo
Leo Stolz is a bit of an enigma right now. He'll go largely unnoticed for large portions of USL matches, but then turn around and pull some magic out of his back pocket. This match was a little bit of both for the German midfielder, but you can't argue with his performance after he scored the game tying goal. He played his run perfectly and hit an unstoppable shot past the Charlotte keeper.
I think Stolz is capable of taking over USL matches. The question is whether he wants to take over.
- New York Red Bulls II still live and die by their MLS players on loan.
- Rafi Diaz over Santiago Castano... hmmm.
- The Baby Bulls were lucky to get a point. Some days, it's just not your day. For 65 minutes, Charlotte dominated.
- I still prefer Konrad Plewa as a midfielder and not a defender.
- I had serious doubts this team would make the playoffs in March. Now? I'd be shocked if they didn't. Again, John Wolyniec is working magic.