Wednesday’s re-scheduled Southern Derby clash went the way of the Charleston Battery as a brace from Heviel Cordoves bookended Ricky Garbanzo‘s second of the year to give the Black and Yellow a 3-0 win over the Charlotte Independence.
The game was originally scheduled for the weekend of September 9th, but was postponed due to the impending Hurricane Irma, and so the Battery came in off of an important win over Richmond, looking to build on the three points to strengthen their push for the playoffs.
An early free kick by Justin Portillo was sent into a dangerous area at the back post, but no one could rise high enough to get any purchase on it and it went out for a goal kick.
But, unlike last game, in which the home side could’ve been two or three up early, they made the most of first half chances, when, after some good build up play on the edge of the box, a sweet bit of passing fell to the feet of Kotaro Higashi, who picked his head up and slotted a pass into Heviel Cordoves, who sent a composed finish far post to open the scoring.
the goal gave Cordoves, who replaced suspended Romario Williams, his third goal of the season after his second secured the three points on Saturday, and gave the Battery something to defend.
The space seemed to open up for the home side as well, as Charlotte would have to come and attack and chase the game. And on 22′, the Battery, and Cordoves, could’ve had a second.
A through ball found the forward streaking away from his man, but he couldn’t get the ball onto his right foot for a shot, and attempt with his left went into the side netting.
On 36′, Skylar Thomas was forced to clear a dangerous ball on the left, which started a counter after the Battery won the second ball. It eventually fell to Attaula Guerra on the left, and his shot near post was saved well by Cody Mizell in the Charlotte goal for a corner, where a foul was given before a chance could be fashioned.
Another chance for Cordoves came on 40′, with Maikel Chang bombing down the right before shifting the ball into the middle at the top of the box. The ball was bobbling as he tried to control, and the shot went wide.
And on the stroke of half time, a cross from the right, where most of Charlotte’s joy in the first half came from, looked a little too close for comfort for the home side, but a late-arriving header from Jamie Siaj hit a mix of his own man and a defender and was claimed by Odisnel Cooper.
And that was how the first half ended, with the Battery having the better chances in the first half, but with Charlotte still in the game, and with the attacking threat they carry, the home side knew they weren’t safe just yet.
On 49′, the Charlotte ‘keeper Mizell was called into action again, when after latching onto a misplayed ball on the right, the goalscorer Cordoves took the opportunity to cut in and have a crack at goal which was met by the man between the sticks.
On 55′, after an initial corner was cleared by the Battery defense, a David Estrada in-swinger from the left went over everyone’s head and seemed to wrong foot Cooper in goal, only for the ball to go wide as the home side breathed a sigh of relief.
Then, on 64′, after having the lion’s share of possession and looking to cause the Battery trouble, the visitors were awarded a penalty kick after Enzo Martinez was brought down by Cooper in the box, though the play was called offside after the attacker didn’t hold his run on the ball through, rendering the ensuing play null and void after the linesman’s flag on the far side went up late.
And then, on 73’, the Battery got some insurance. It was another piece of great build up play, again falling to Higashi, this time on the edge of the box, who stood up his man and found substitute Ricky Garbanzo with another great through ball and Garbanzo found himself in space to fire into the opposite corner.
The pressure was off the home side with the two goal lead, and the second had come at just the right time, as their opponents were just starting to turn the screw.
And then, with ten minutes left, Garbanzo would add an assist to his cameo, playing a great through ball inside a man to Heviel Cordoves, who again composed himself and went far post for his second of the night.
So in the space of a few days, Cordoves had scored more goals than his entire tally for the season up until that point. It just shows what confidence can do for a player, and he was indeed more than happy to be back amongst the goals.
And that was how it ended. After a bit of a smash and grab against Richmond, the Battery would supplement it by an all important win over their Southern Derby rivals.
The Battery next face Orlando City B away from home on Saturday, September 23, with Kick Off at 7:30. You can watch it on MyTV Charleston, or stream it at the club’s website.
TOP IMAGE: HEVIEL CORDOVES CELEBRATES HIS FIRST GOAL OF THE EVENING BY SHOWING OFF SOME DANCING SKILLS WITH TEAMMATE MAIKEL CHANG. PHOTO CREDIT ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY