The Charleston Battery were on the wrong end of late drama as an 85th minute Fabian Herbers goal settled things between the Black and Yellow and the Chicago Fire Saturday.
Both sides had chances throughout the game, and the home side can be proud of a fine defensive display, but it was Herbers’ shot from the top of the box with five minutes left that made the difference.
Nemanja Nikolic had the first chance, when Jay Bolt’s clearing header fell into the path of the forward on the edge of the box, but his shot on the half volley went wide of Joe Kuzminsky‘s goal.
Ian Svantesson, who had two goals in each of his last two games, would latch onto a long ball just after a quarter of an hour and had a shot on the right, but it would go behind for a goal kick.
A crafty looking corner after 26′ would be played out to Tah Brian Anunga, who spotted the run of Svantesson and put a ball up for the striker to get it, but he sent a looping header over the bar.
Three minutes later, Anunga would be at the heart of things again, winning the ball back in midfield before eventually playing Vincenzo Candela, but his shot was straight at the ‘keeper.
And that’s how the first half ended. The Fire looked perhaps a bit more crisp in their passing, but the home side were holding their own, able to create a few chances and giving another good account of themselves.
As in the first half, the visitors had the first chance of the second 45, but this time through Aleksandar Katai, who forced a save at Kuzminsky’s front post from the left and earned his side a corner, but it would be whistled dead for a foul.
In minute 54′, Angelo Kelly would create space for himself on the left after a brilliant run through two and three defenders, but in the end could only force a shot straight at the keeper.
Substitute Romario Piggott would find the ball at his feet on 72′, and after a tasty little give and go as he cut in from the right, his curling effort was saved by the ‘keeper.
Arthur Bosua, who came in for the striker Svantesson, would go one on one with a defender, and could’ve played Romario Piggott to his right, but decided against it, and eventually had the ball taken from him that would rebound into the path of Vincenzo Candela, but his effort went right toward the ‘keeper.
Seven minutes from time, the Battery had a dangerous free kick played in from the right side, that just needed a flick on to change direction, but it didn’t get it and the keeper would collect.
And then, on 85′, the Battery would pay the price for struggling to clear a cross as Armando Moreno would get the ball with space in the box before passing off to Herbers, whose shot on his left foot went into the upper 90′ to put the visitors in front.
It was harsh on the Battery, who had defended well, but after struggling to clear the ball, those are the situations teams can find themselves in, and it was a tidy finish from Herbers.
And that’s how it finished. The Battery concluded this year’s edition of the Carolina Challenge Cup with a draw and two losses, but never seemed out of any of the games they played. What you saw in the tournament was what you’ve come to expect, solid defending, that with a bit of quality in the attack, perhaps the return of one Attaula Guerra, can stand them in good stead as we head into the new season.
That season begins in two weeks, as the Battery take on the Ottawa Fury on March 9.