The Charleston Battery and Louisville City FC shared the points after an entertaining 2-2 draw at Slugger Field on Friday.
Much of this was behind a solid second half display from Odisnel Cooper, who ended up in double digits for saves despite giving up two equalizing goals to Cameron Lancaster after Patrick Okonkwo and Nico Rittmeyer had twice given the visitors the lead.
Patrick Okonkwo’s third goal in two games put his side in front on 14′ after much of the early play had fallen the way of the hosts. It was Attaula Guerra who played provider, playing the through ball forward for Okonkwo to run on, beating his defender for pace before sliding home past the outrushing ‘keeper.
But Lancaster up front for Louisville would have his say, as he was on the end of some good build up play on the edge of the box only a few minutes later and levelled with a powerful effort into the back of the net.
It was difficult to take from the Battery, who didn’t have time to get settled after going in front, but they would have to keep their heads up and keep looking for opportunities.
And those opportunities would come quickly. On 21’, Vincenzo Candela would acrobatically find the feet of Attaula Guerra, who beat his man for pace to cross low at the byline for Nico Rittmeyer crashing in at the top of the six yard box, supplying the first time finish and putting the Black and Yellow back in front.
It was a quick attack, but Guerra, known for his goals this season, showed great awareness to pick his head up on the cross and find Rittmeyer for his second assist of the evening.
Odisnel Cooper would then be called into action with a save at his feet three minutes later, denying Cameron Lancaster the chance to find a team mate with a cross on the left side.
On 35′, Attaula Guerra would look up with the ball at his feet and try a speculative effort from distance, but it rose high and wide.
And then, on 41′, Lancaster would rise highest on a cross from the left and snap his header into the opposite corner, once again pulling Louisville level.
It was somewhat lax defending from the Battery as no one seemed to sense Lancaster’s presence, but the header itself was a great effort to pull his side back into it.
George Davis IV almost singlehandedly put the home side in front in first half stoppage time, when he beat two players on the right wing before cutting in and shooting on his right foot. The effort would take a deflection and go out for a corner that was eventually saved.
On the other side of the break, Cooper was called into action again, this time saving a curling shot from Noel McCabe from distance that the ‘keeper palmed out for a corner that was eventually dealt with.
Lancaster’s shot on the volley was denied by Cooper in the 51st, after an initial cross had been dealt with, and play continued the other way.
A Louisville corner two minutes later would fall in the box, but after a melee ensued to gain possession, the ball ran out for a goal kick.
Cooper would then save from Oscar Jimenez on 63, which led to a corner that the Battery would clear.
The Battery would then begin to have a couple of chances down the other end, as a cross from the right found the feet of Attaulla Guerra, whose flick forced a save out of the Louisville keeper on 72’.
Shortly after, good build up play from Guerra and Kotaro Higashi would lead to a curling shot by Guerra that hit the hand of Louisville defender Paco Craig, though the referee didn’t see it despite being in an optimal position.
On the stroke of full time, Cooper would be forced into another save from Jimenez after a clearing header fell to the feet of the striker, but the ‘keeper would be equal to it, and after three minutes of added time, the referee blew his whistle, and that’s how it ended.
Going in front twice could be seen as frustrating as the Battery only earned a point, yet with the run of play, the draw wasn’t the worst result in a difficult place to play.
The Battery next face the Tampa Bay Rowdies at home on September 8th. Kick off is at 7PM.
TOP IMAGE: ATTAULA GUERRA (PICTURED IN THE LAST MEETING BETWEEN THE SIDES) PROVIDED TWO ASSISTS IN A 2-2 DRAW BETWEEN THE BATTERY AND LOUISVILLE CITY