Heviel Cordoves’ sixth goal in as many games meant the Charleston Battery gained the point they needed to secure a playoff spot in a 1-1 draw with the Ottawa Fury.
The Battery struggled for long periods of the game, having conceded early, and especially after losing Forrest Lasso midway through the second half for a second bookable offence, but Cordoves’ equalizer five minutes from time would rescue a decent result from an otherwise frustrating day at the office for the Black and Yellow.
Much of the first quarter of an hour didn’t have much in the way of chances, but a ball in low to Fury striker Steevan Dos Santos on 16′ wasn’t dealt with by Taylor Mueller, and a second chance at the shot gave the forward time to slot past Odisnel Cooper in goal.
And so, having fallen asleep after the back and forth of the early goings, the Battery needed to get themselves back up again and try to find the equalizer.
An attack started by Justin Portillo on 20′ looked to do just that. The Battery’s midfield maestro would play out to the wing to Kotaro Higashi, before Attaula Guerra‘s ball through on the top of the box was too strong for Romario Williams.
Just a minute later, the winger Higashi would get a backheel from Williams and play a fizzing ball across that forced the ‘keeper to come out and punch, though his effort wasn’t quite as strong as he’dve hoped, but there were no players in the white of the Battery to follow in and get a shot off on the rebound.
There weren’t too many chances after until on the stroke of half-time, when Maikel Chang whipped in a corner low and found Naveal Hackshaw on the front post, who flicked the ball on before it clattered off the inside of the near post in a sequence not unlike the one that Heviel Cordoves scored against Richmond.
A give and go on the other side of the break in the 49th fell to Quinton Griffith, but he would blaze a shot over the bar.
At the other end, however, Steevan Dos Santos would play a 1-2 of his own at the top of the box, only for his effort to go wide of the target also.
And on 59′, Forrest Lasso would be given his marching orders after his second yellow, making the task at hand, ultimately getting at least a point, all the more hard for the visitors.
Skylar Thomas would come on for Naveal Hackshaw just past the hour mark, which was a change to make up for the central defender lost in Lasso.
The Battery would make a second sub, this time of the attacking sort, with 15 minutes to go, when Maikel Chang would be replaced by Heviel Cordoves, who was hoping to make a similar impact to his few previous performances, finally finding his footing at such a crucial time in the season.
After 77′, An Ottawa corner would quickly break down, which led to a lung-busting run from Quinton Griffith down the middle, who would play wide the substitute Cordoves. He would play a dangerous ball into the box, but there was no one there to get on the end of it.
The Battery then had a pair of free kicks inside the last ten minutes in which to pump the ball into the box to look for the equalizer, but both were given offside and were wasted.
And then, finally, with five minutes of normal time to go, Romario Williams would pick his head up and find Heviel Cordoves in space and place the ball ahead of him with the outside of his foot, and the striker took the ball down with a great first touch before beating his man on the edge of the six yard box with an elaborate flick and hitting the ball full on the volley with his weaker right foot to beat the ‘keeper and draw the Battery level.
With five minutes left, the Battery knew that the point they would gain if they held on would secure them a spot in the Playoffs, but they would have to stay composed, knowing that they let a similar result slip just a week ago against Orlando.
In the three minutes of added on time, Odisnel Cooper would be forced to make some very important interceptions on crosses, but none would be altogether too troubling, and the Battery would end up indeed holding on for that all-important point.
And so, with two games to spare, the Battery qualified for the USL playoffs. They next play Harrisburg on Saturday, October 7th, as they look to hang on to one of the top four spots, which would ensure them at least one home game in the playoffs. Kick off is scheduled for 7PM, and you can watch on MyTV Charleston or on the club’s website.
TOP IMAGE: HEVIEL CORDOVES (PICTURED) CONTINUED HIS EXCELLENT RUN WITH ANOTHER LATE GOAL TO EARN THE BATTERY A PLAYOFF-CLINCHING POINT IN OTTAWA. ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTO