Kotaro Higashi‘s first competitive goal for the Black and Yellow was cancelled out by a late second half goal as the Charleston Battery drew 1-1 with the Charlotte Independence.
The game ebbed and flowed and remained open for almost the entire 90 minutes, but the Battery will be kicking themselves for not converting what amounted to the bulk of the better chances throughout the match.
Despite this, the Battery began on the back foot, and Joe Kuzminski was forced into his first save after just seven minutes after palming Eamon Zayed’s downward header from a cross over the bar.
Jarad van Schaik‘s pull back on 17’ fell to Gordon Wild, who pulled his shot just wide with a first time effort.
Wild would continue an impressive first half after 24′, when he received the ball on the right edge of the box and took the time to cut in for a shot before it went wide.
But then, some good build up play just a minute later fell to Attaula Guerra, who created some room for himself with a bit of neat footwork, selling his defender with a dummy before finding Kotaro Higashi, who was one-on-one with the ‘keeper before finishing first time to put his side in front.
Given the finish, you wouldn’t believe it, but it was his first goal for the Battery since a goal against the Seattle Sounders in last year’s edition of the Carolina Challenge Cup when he was still fighting for a place on the Battery squad as an open trialist, making this his first goal in a competitive game.
The game then began to settle then, with both teams looking for more chances, the visitors to extend their lead, their hosts to go into the break with their tails up, but both teams remained tight-knit as the half time whistle blew.
On the other side of the break, the Battery began to sit back, and were patient in taking chances, when one fell for Gordon Wild after 54’.
A well-distributed goal kick from Joe Kuzminski would find Wild breaking free of his man, going clean through with just the ‘keeper to beat, but he seemed to rush the shot a little as the effort went wide.
Just past the hour mark, Jorge Herrera would receive the ball from the wing on the edge of the box and shoot first time through a crowd of bodies, but Kuzminski got himself behind it to make the save.
The pressure kept piling on the Battery, but they remained stout as they brushed aside a few half chances for the hosts, until resistance was finally broken on 79’.
Mutaya Mwape would beat Neveal Hackshaw to a loose ball on the edge of the area before somehow finding space and putting the ball up toward the back post. The ball caught the goalkeeper Kuzminski off his line, and somehow nestled into the bottom corner as it went over his head.
It was a gutted feeling after defending well for the majority of the game, but it wasn’t the first time in recent weeks that the Battery could be accused of not taking chances to finish games out, notably last week, when the Battery had plenty of chances to score before eventually losing the game 2-0 against another rival in Richmond.
And that’s how the game ended. Luckily, with it comes the end of a four game away stretch as they return home to face the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on June 23rd.
TOP IMAGE: KOTARO HIGASHI (PICTURED MIDDLE) SCORED HIS FIRST COMPETITIVE GOAL FOR THE BATTERY IN A 1-1 DRAW WITH CHARLOTTE. PHOTO CREDIT ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY