The Charleston Battery advanced to the third round of the US Open Cup by beating Tormenta FC by a score of 1-0 Wednesday night.
They looked to take their resurgent league form into the cup in this midweek clash, but would make seven changes along the way. The back three of Neveal Hackshaw, Skylar Thomas and Taylor Mueller stayed the same, but it was Odisnel Cooper deputizing for Joe Kuzminski in goal, while Angelo Kelly, Ryan Arambula, Nico Rittmeyer and Victor Mansaray partnered Vincenzo Candela in midfield, the only one to retain his place from the 2-1 win over Bethlehem. Up front were Ian Svantesson and Patrick Okonkwo, making their first start together as a pair.
The Battery started the brighter of the two sides, getting some good half chances in, before Angelo Kelly’s ball at the edge of the box into the six went menacingly across goal, but had no one to poke it home.
But then, some good build up play in the 21st led to Victor Mansaray picking up the ball on the edge of the box and playing a searching ball in that seemed to beat everyone before finding Patrick Okonkwo who dipped his head and fired the Battery in front.
The lead was well deserved, and the Battery had something to hold onto for their efforts after a hard fought, physical start.
A Battery free kick was headed over the bar for a corner after 33′, but the referee gave a foul on the ensuing set piece and the chance was gone.
In first half stoppage time, Okonkwo had the chance to double his, and his side’s, tally, when he got a pass from the left inside the box, but was only able to toe poke it toward the ‘keeper.
Shortly after half time, Nico Rittmeyer was booked for a challenge near midfield, and then would receive his marching orders some 20 minutes later after a harsh slide tackle that led to a dangerous Tormenta free kick, but the danger was cleared.
Much of the game after that was played in midfield, until the 83rd minute, when Tormenta earned a corner that was played to the top of the box, only for the cross back in to be caught by Odisnel Cooper in the Battery goal.
With five minutes left to play, a Tormenta player was also shown a red card when Nil Vinyals slid in on second half substitute Kotaro Higashi. The game itself was still quite the physical affair, and both red cards, a pair of second yellows, were perhaps justified.
And that’s how it ended. Both teams down a man, but the Battery prevailing through the first half goal. They now face Elm City Express next Wednesday, May 23rd.
The Battery return to USL play this weekend, against Ottawa Fury. Kick off is scheduled for 7PM, and you can watch on MyTV Charleston.
TOP IMAGE: BATTERY PLAYERS CELEBRATE THE OPENER IN THE US OPEN CUP 2ND ROUND TIE AGAINST TORMENTA FC. ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTOS