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Red Bulls tie USL's Battery

Posted on 17 March 2008 by Nathaniel E. Baker

The New York Red Bulls played the Charleston Battery to a 1-1 tie in their make-up opener to the 2008 Carolina Challenge Cup at Charleston, S.C.’s Blackbaud Stadium Sunday. Trialist Kevin Mesa scored for Red Bull in the 78th minute, only four minutes after being subbed in for rookie Danleigh Borman. Sinisa Ubiparipovic, himself a second half substitute, got the assist. “The defender wasn’t marking me very well and I took the opportunity, made a run, got the ball…and just flicked it in,” Mesa told ASN after the game.The goalscorer (c) CSA/Julia Fizer

The lead was short-lived, however, as the Battery countered on the very next play. David Kenga grabbed the unassisted equalizer for the hosts and the 1-1 score remained until the final whistle. “We had plenty of chances to win the game,” assistant coach Richie Williams said afterwards. “Unfortunately we didn’t…but overall it’s an exhibition game and we’re building for the season. It would have been nice to win but a draw’s okay and hopefully we’ll build on this for the next two games.” With Juan Carlos Osorio away “scouting players in South America,” as the team’s official word states (rumors are he will come back with one or maybe even two new signings), Williams assumed head coaching duties for the day. Osorio will be back “in the next couple of days,” Williams said, presumably in time for the team’s next game Wednesday night.
Echeverry gets upended (c) ASN/Julia Fizer
New York was short four starters, with Jozy Altidore and Hunter Freeman on national team duty, Dane Richards injured and Dave van den Bergh absent for undisclosed reasons. Altidore was replaced by Oscar Echeverry, the team’s sole veteran acquisition so far this off-season.

Kevin Goldthwaite started for Freeman on the back line, with a pair of rookies, Luke Sassano and Danleigh Borman, filling in for Richards and van den Bergh, respectively. Borman, a 23 year-old South Africa native selected in the Supplemental Draft out of the University of Rhode Island, has impressed in pre-season and did so again today. “Danleigh was good,” said Williams of the rookie’s performance today. “His crosDanleigh Borman (c) ASN/Julia Fizersing was good. He served up some good balls for our forwards.” Williams and Red Bull personnel implied Borman would factor into the team’s regular season lineup as well, perhaps as a starter. The team is thin at left wing and Borman’s solid fundamentals (a rarity from left-footers in MLS) and pace are a nice fit.

Borman saw a lot of touches and was responsible for many of New York’s best chances in the first half. Several times placing crosses directly onto the foreheads of Red Bull forwards. In the 19th minute he found Juan Pablo Angel, who headed the ball narrowly over the bar. In the 37th, his freekick from the right flank found Mike Magee, whose header hit the outside post. Borman also took the team’s corners from the right side.
“I think it was a good exercise in general,” Angel said of the game. “We need to get ourselves match fit–that’s probably the main concern right now.” Claudio ReyStammler chases down a loose ball (c) ASN/Julia Fizerna echoed Angel’s sentiments. “Today Charleston did very well to make it difficult for us…it takes time when you have three or four guys getting their feet wet it’s not going to just happen overnight, but it was encouraging; a lot of guys did well.”

Reyna said he was hopeful for better luck with his health this season. “I feel very strong at the moment. I’ve been working out very hard. This preseason, I haven’t missed a day of training–I feel very good. I just want it to continue.”

With the tie, the teams are tied for second place after one round of play in the tournament. The expansion San Jose Earthquakes, with three points from Saturday’s victory over Toronto FC, are first. Red Bull faces Toronto next, on Wednesday night, before concluding the tournament against San Jose Saturday.

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