HARRISON, N.J. (CHARLOTTE SPORTS LIVE) — Charlotte FC quickly found itself in a deep hole to the New York Red Bulls Wednesday night, and lost its first-ever Major League Soccer playoff match 5-2.
Red Bulls forward Elias Manoel first scored at the 10-minute mark, then found the net twice more later for a hat trick. He entered the Wild Card match with three goals all season.
The teams had equivalent 43-point seasons, but New York got the nod as the 8-seed and host on the tiebreaker, and the Red Bulls took full advantage.
Despite the large deficit, 9-seed FC kept battling in the second frame. Forward Kerwin Vargas got CLTFC on the board with a bicycle kick at the 49-minute mark. Karol Swiderski and Brandt Bronico set him up for the spectacular goal.
After another Red Bulls goal from Tom Barlow, Charlotte striker Patrick Agyemang made the score 4-2 at 64 minutes. He was assisted by Kristijan Kahlina.
Charlotte had a two-shot advantage in the match, and picked up two yellow cards to zero from New York.
It was the first playoff match for FC, after clinching in the final regular-season game Oct. 21 in front of a huge crowd at Bank of American Stadium. They finished the regular season 10-11-13.
Swiderski led the team with 13 goals.
The Red Bulls advance to play at Cincinnati Sunday, Oct. 29.