Charleston, SC. Substitute forward David Kenga scored an excellent individual goal late in the second half to earn the Charleston Battery a tie versus Major League Soccer’s New York Red Bulls Sunday afternoon at Blackbaud Stadium. New York had taken the lead less than a minute earlier through Kevin Meza, but Kenga’s strike earned Charleston a deserved point.
The game, the Battery’s first of the 2008 Carolina Challenge Cup, was originally scheduled for Saturday night but was postponed until Sunday afternoon due to lightning.
New York started brightly and forward Juan Pablo Angel came close in the 17th minute. The ball was crossed to him from the left side but his reaction header rose over the bar.
Charleston fought back and five minutes later were denied by goalkeeper John Conway at the near post. Winger, Mike Richardson had been played in by Pato Aguilera but Conway turned his shot over the bar for a corner.
The best chance of the first period fell to the Red Bulls in 37th minute but Mike Magee’s attempted header from a Danleigh Borman free-kick cannoned back of the far post.
Angel’s influence increased as the game wore on and as he began to drop deeper to collect the ball. Five minutes after the break he hit a fierce volley that Battery goalkeeper Dusty Hudock just managed to parry clear.
Both sides made numerous substitutions during the second period and it paid dividends. New York substitute David Meza headed neatly past Hudock in the 79th minute from a Sinisa Ubiparapovic free kick.
Less than a minute later Charleston leveled; David Kenga won the ball just past the half way line and used his pace to elude the New York right-back. As the Red Bulls goalkeeper approached, Kenga steered the ball into the far corner.
Charleston almost won the game in the last moments through substitute striker Kendall Jageosingh but his left-footed effort was turned around the post.
The Carolina Challenge Cup continues Wednesday night as the New York Red Bulls take on Toronto F.C. at 6 Pm followed by the Battery vs the San Jose Earthquakes at 8:15 PM, $15 – $25, (843) 971-4625, www.charlestonbattery.com.