Heviel Cordoves helped the Charleston Battery battle back from a goal down, scoring the equalizer as they came away with a point against FC Cincinnati.
The first match between the two sides went the way of the Battery on the first day of the season, but Cincy had grown since then and used the loss as somewhat of a learning curve to help them to their current third place position, two points ahead of the Battery. One of the biggest factors in their good form in their inaugural season has been their home crowd, which, for this particular match, was over 19,000 strong, which would mean that the Battery would have to cope under a little bit of added pressure.
And they did that well, Romario Williams unlucky to have not fashioned a chance early on after latching on to a long ball, but was unlucky to not control it as the ball was cleared.
Some great interplay outside the penalty area by Cincinnati nearly lead to a chance, but the ball would eventually go out for a Battery goal kick as the home side couldn’t connect. Alex Tambakis, who had a decent night in the Battery goal, would send the ball long to be headed on out on the wing and then cleared for a Battery corner, but Mitch Hildebrandt would punch away, and the rebound by Maikel Chang was blocked.
On nine minutes, Omar Cummings was put through by Sean Okoli, but his shot was blocked down by Taylor Mueller and out for a corner, which was eventually cleared.
Some good buildup play, this time for the Battery, led to the first real chance of the evening as Romario Williams tried to curl one along the ground to the opposite corner from the left side of the box after 16 minutes, forcing Hildebrandt in the Cincinnati goal into his first save, tipping the ball around the post, and then collecting the ensuing corner.
Not two minutes later, it was Tambakis at the other end who would have to be on his toes, as a cross from the left bounced in the middle of the box, only to fall to a Cincinnati player, whose shot from 20 yards had to be saved by the man on loan from Atlanta United.
On 25′, Ricky Garbanzo got the ball in a dangerous area, and looked up to find a man in Romario Williams, who did well to stay onside, and looked to think about the shot himself before passing off to the onrushing Zach Prince, but the midfielder’s shot bounced just wide.
Sean Okoli would win the ball back in the hosts’ attacking third on 29 minutes after some bad footwork by the Battery led to a giveaway, and got a cross in, which Obi Woodbine would clear and send Williams with the intent to start a counter, but not for the first time, the ball would be tackled away
With ten minutes left in the first half, Sean Okoli would receive a ball over the top, and take it down with the intention to shoot. The ball would be hassled clear, but only pop out to Jimmy McGlaughlin, who would shoot, but the effort would be just wide
Two minutes later as the Battery had possession, Romario Williams had the ball at his feet and would trick past a man, thus opening up play to slot it across to Maikel Chang, who sped toward the middle looking to thread the ball into the box, but the danger was cleared.
Cincinnati’s Eric Stevenson would see the ball pop out to him thanks to a deflection, and have a go from range which looked dangerous, but the effort was wide of Alex Tambakis’ post.
And the last effort of the half would fall to the hosts, when a Jimmy McGlaughlin cross was away by the Battery defense, but Andrew Wiedeman would pick up the pieces, shooting on the half volley an effort that looked destined for goal, but Tambakis produced a great save to keep us scoreless. Okoli would do what a striker should and follow in, and Tambakis would save that effort as well, though the effort wouldn’tve counted as he was adjudged to be offside.
Both sides would have their moments in the first half, with the Battery starting off best, but the home side coming into it as the match would go on.
But there was a moment of worry for the Black and Yellow early on in the second half, when Taylor Mueller, who had been in some impressive form in recent weeks, would come off with a shoulder injury to be replaced by Forrest Lasso.
Not too long after, Mueller’s absence would be felt as Jimmy McGlaughlin would cross the ball from the left edge of the box, which would be dummied on by Okoli to Omar Cummings, who left Tambakis flatfooted and opened the scoring.
So after a decent first half, things quickly turned scary for the Battery, who knew they couldn’t afford to lose, and fall behind in the standings in a vital point in the season as we quickly head toward the home stretch.
But the visitors would look to get on the front foot quickly, with Maikel Chang having a pop at Hildebrandt’s goal, but the shot lacked power and went softly into the ‘keeper’s arms.
Heviel Cordoves, who sealed the points for the Battery in their trip to New York to take on Red Bulls II, would come on on 58, replacing Ricky Garbanzo, who struggled a little to make an impact in the second half.
Quinton Griffith would power himself down the line and have a shot at goal from range, but the effort went high.
And then on 69′, the visitors would get a lifeline. It came from a corner played in by Maikel Chang with pinpoint accuracy, putting the ball intothe edge of the six for the big men to go up for. It was Heviel Cordoves that rose highest, beating the ‘keeper to the ball and flicking the ball into the net.
It was something that the visitors maybe deserved after showing some fight to get back into the game after the goal.
McGlaughlin for the hosts ended up on the end of some good work by Cincy, but Tambakis would produce a save.
On 78’, Cincinnati had a very promising chance from a free kick about 23 yards out, but the shot went high over the bar.
With seven minutes left, Chris Tsonis would come on for Romario Williams, and nearly have an immediate impact. Quinton Griffith would serve a cross in for the striker, who would power a header off the bar, which bounced down and off of the goalkeeper Hildebrandt, as it hit the line and squirmed out for a corner.
A Battery corner with a minute of normal time to go was cleared, but put back in by Obi Woodbine and cleared for another before being collected.
In added time, Cordoves broke away for the Battery, and got into the box before a last ditch tackle cleared the danger for the hosts. But the was a touch of controversy as the defender looked to extend his hand away from his body in order to take the ball from the toe of the attacker, though nothing was given.
And that’s the way it ended, with the Battery earning the point that gave them 4 from two straight away games, including the win against NYRB II, and doing them well for their playoff hopes, given that they remain in touching distance of the rest of the top four.
The Battery return home next to face rivals Charlotte Independence on August 3ed, with Kick Off at 7:30.
TOP IMAGE: ALEX TAMBAKIS COMES TO CLAIM IN THE SEASON’S FIRST MEETING BETWEEN CINCINNATI AND THE BATTERY AS THE SCORE WAS 2-1. ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTO