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Baby Bulls Draw with Charleston in Final Home Match

The Baby Red Bulls clashed with Charleston Battery Friday night in their final home match of the 2019 United Soccer League Championship season. Harrison, N.J. native Omar Sowe scored his first professional goal in the team’s last game.

John Wolyniec’s men came into their final home game of the year having clinched a playoff berth, but jockeying for position in the Eastern Conference standings with Nashville SC and Pittsburgh Riverhounds for first place.

Wolyniec opted to go with two strikers, Mathias Jorgenson and Sebastian Elney. Midfielder Omir Fernandez got the start at right-mid. Fernandez has two goals and two assists for the New York Red Bulls first team in 2019.

Early on in the match, a Charleston midfielder made a hard challenge on Baby Bulls’ midfielder Edgardo Rito. Rito was left with a serious injury and carted off the field. Charleston played physical early on. In the 38th minute, Jared Stroud was pulled down inside the box and the Baby Bulls were awarded a penalty kick. Stroud took the penalty but kicked it directly at the goalkeeper who grabbed it and the game remained scoreless after halftime.

In the 51st minute, Stroud flicked a through pass into the path of midfielder Omir Fernandez. The homegrown red bulls player from the Bronx, dribbled into the eighteen-yard-box and chipped Charleston’s goalkeeper. Mathias Jorgenson was there to grab the loose ball and tap in his tenth goal of the season.

Late in extra time, the Battery got the goal they were looking for. Vincenzo Candela sent a cross into the middle of the box where substitute midfielder A.J. Patterson was waiting unmarked and headed it in to even up the match.

It is disappointing because the Baby Bulls had the chance to break their club record with their 12th home win. Jared Stroud has scored 14 goals and notched nine assists. He remains one goal shy of Brandon Allen’s Baby Bulls’ regular season goal record.

Harrison native Omar Sowe made his home debut when he subbed in for Omir Fernandez in the 60th minute.

Red Bulls II head coach John Wolyniec described what he hopes his team will take away from this result;

“[This game] had all of that stuff in there, all the intangibles. Compete, seeing out games, all of those little things that go into rounding out your game as a professional were in there. So hopefully we learn from it and that’s what we told the guys. That’s what playoff games are going to look like.”

With the late win at MSU Soccer Park, Charleston remains in the playoff hunt. Meanwhile, the Red Bulls II fell to third place and one point shy of the leaders, Nashville and Pittsburgh.

The New York Red Bulls II will finish their regular season on the road. The Baby Bulls begin with a trip to play North Carolina FC on October 5, with kick-off set for 7 p.m. ET.

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Anthony has been a sportswriter at In The Zone since Sept. 2019. He graduated from Montclair State, where he was assistant Editor of the student newspaper's sports section. He also co-hosts a sports-themed radio show on the campus station, WMSC 90.3 FM, which was recently named #1 college radio station in the nation.
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