Unlike the weather, lightning didn’t strike twice for the Battery, as despite a man advantage for most of the second half, with 21 shots, they couldn’t find the back of the net, and were held to a 0-0 draw away from home against Orlando City B.
After another lightning delay, both sides’ second in two weeks, the match kicked off shortly before 8:30. Quinton Griffith was back at right back, meaning Taylor Meuller was back beside center-back partner Shawn Ferguson. Alex Tambakis was back in goal after a solid performance between the sticks against FC Cincinnati last week.
It didn’t take long for the Battery to get things going, with Attaulah Guerra breaking forward and getting a shot off. The shot went high into the stands, unknowingly foreshadowing what would come from the rest of the night.
After five minutes, it was Orlando with a corner, cleared away at the first attempt by the Battery defense.
Ricky Garbanzo was the man to get the first shot on target of the evening, after a long ball up to Heviel Cordoves popped out to the attacking midfielder, forcing Mark Ridgers in the OCB goal into his first save of the night.
A dangerous cross from Orlando on 11 was cut out by Ferguson in the Battery backline, though the ensuing counter led to naught as the final ball was lacking.
Maikel Chang wrestled the ball away from the Orlando defense as they tried to play the ball out following a goal kick, but after finding Cordoves with the cross, the shot went wide.
On 16, dangerous free kick taken by Justin Portillo was played toward the back post from the left, but it was cleared at the second attempt after a defender rose highest to clear the danger.
Not too long after, Quinton Griffith played a cross too long from the right, but Justin Portillo stole the ball from a defender and took a shot, which went narrowly wide
On 22 minutes, a pinpoint cross from Pierre DaSilva found Antonio Rocha back-post, but he couldn’t get any power on the header and it went safely into the arms of Battery ‘keeper Tambakis.
Lewis Neal took a deflected shot by the Battery’s Griffith to the ribs in the 25th minute, going off for Johnny Mendoza not too long after due to injury.
On 36, the Battery hadat was perhaps their best chance of the half, when a quick ball from back to front by Obi Woodbine found Cordoves free, but the striker blasted over from close range.
Antonio DaSilva, who had undoubtedly been OCB’s best player to that point, had a shot from range easily saved on 41.
Despite the dominance by the travelling team, with six shots to their name, they didn’t have much to show going into half-time, with only Ricky Garbanzo’s shot early on being the one to go on target.
That number was doubled just four minutes into the second half, with a cross from the right finding Zach Prince, whose shot on the half volley lacked the power to beat Ridgers in the OCB goal.
Then, things would get a bit more complicated for OCB, with Andy Rocha receiving his marching orders after a second yellow for pushing Zach Prince over after the ball had gone out of play for a throw in. Rocha had previously been booked for going in from behind on defender Shawn Ferguson in the first half, and the late challenge on Prince was the last straw for the referee, and OCB were down to ten men.
Five minutes later, Obi Woodbine got to the byline, playing in a ball low to Ricky Garbanzo, who was again denied by Ridgers, as he was in the first half.
Garbanzo had another chance after 54, when an early cross was punched by Ridgers straight into his path, but the shot on the volley was difficult to take down and went wide.
After 64, Romario Williams came on to try and repeat his heroics from last week, again replacing Cordoves, who, like last night, did a lot of moving around, but had nothing to show for it.
Quinton Griffith would blaze a shot over the bar on 67, as it became more and more apparent that the Battery didn’t have their shooting boots on. Shortly after, Dante Marini replaced Zach Prince, as Marini looked to add some extra pace and fresh legs to the game.
Naveal Hackshaw would come on on 77′, getting his first action in a Battery shirt after missing last week with his national team, replacing Attaulah Guerra.
A 79th minute corner by Justin Portillo was cleared and led to a dangerous looking Orlando corner, before being cut out and brought the other way, but just as it looked like it was going to fashion a chance, was pulled back for offside on Chang.
The Battery went especially gung ho in the last ten minutes, Dante Marini got himself to the byline on 81 minutes, only to see his cross cleared by the first man, but not cleared very far, and Marini found the ball at his feet again, this time finding the striker Williams in the center, but he couldn’t get a shot off.
Marini would have a chance of his own on 84, when a Griffith cross found him eventually on the edge of the box, but his shot was blocked down.
Maikel Chang’s shot with 5 minutes to go would clatter the post, the winger taking aim from a good 20 yards, with shades of Cordoves’ effort last week ringing in Battery fans’ heads. The shot would rebound to right back Obi Woodbine, but his effort was deflected high for a corner.
The ensuing corner was played to the back stick by set piece specialist Portillo, finding a man in the box, only for the shot to go wide at the far post.
With one minute left to go of normal time, Portillo was the man who had a free kick from roughly 23 yards to steal it at the death, but his shot went high and wide over the bar.
In stoppage time, the last chance would fall to Ricky Garbanzo, who stooped low to connect with a Marini cross, but the header went wide.
And so, despite being the better side on the night, and having played against 10 men for most of the second half, the Battery were left to rue missed chances in their first meeting with their old foe’s reserve side.
The boys in black and yellow return home next week, Saturday, April 9th, in the first Southern Derby of the season against the Wilmington Hammerheads. The match kicks off at 7:30