The Charleston Battery would have the majority of opportunities, but would only come away with a point following a 1-1 draw with Swope Park Rangers on Saturday.
The match was delayed by almost 90 minutes from its original start time of 7:30 by inclement whether, though the Black and Yellow got things under way just before 9PM. Leland Archer would return from international duty to partner Taylor Mueller at the back, as the Battery deployed a 4-4-1-1 formation rather than the 3-4-3 they’ve become accustomed to.
The Battery started the better of the two sides, with a Vincenzo Candela free kick being flicked on in the general direction of Arthur Bosua, but as Bosua and the goalkeeper Zendejas went up to claim, the referee blew the whistle for a foul and the chance went begging.
A Battery corner from the right was then put into a dangerous area before being punched clear by the ‘keeper to ease the pressure on the Swope Park goal
After 24′, a cross from the right side was deflected into Bosua’s path, but it was saved at point blank range and went out for a corner, which came to nothing.
And then, in first half stoppage time, a ball from deep was sent into the path of Bosua, who fought off a defender before connecting with the ball off balance as he put the ball wide.
The half time whistle would blow shortly after. The home side looked the better of the two teams, but would have to make that dominance count if they were to get anything out of the game.
And though it took awhile for the second half to get going, that’s what the Black and Yellow did. A cross from the left would be dummied on by Kotaro Higashi ahead of the onrushing Romario Piggott, who opened up his hips to shoot, with just enough power to beat the ‘keeper despite his best efforts to get a hand to it.
It was a goal that the home side deserved, but that they certainly were made to work for. Now, with the lead, the pressure was off.
Or so they hoped. The visitors would go straight down the field on the offensive, and would force Joe Kuzminsky in goal to come and try and claim a cross, though he would fail to get any sort of connection on the ball. This left the goal at the mercy of the Swope Park attack, though no one could turn it home.
Kotaro Higashi would create a chance after good build up, sliding through to substitute Ian Svantesson with just under 20 minutes to go, but the forward would put his shot wide from an albeit difficult angle.
And then, on 82′, Felipe Hernandez would find himself in space at the top of the box, cut in on his right foot and shoot a bouncing, curling effort that took a nick off a defender and pinged off the far post and over the line.
It was a decent effort helped by the deflection, and though it was well fought by the visitors, who found themselves back in the match, the Black and Yellow had plenty of chances to put the game to bed before the equalizer, but the lack of finishing would haunt them.
The game would get a bit chippy in the minutes that followed, and, deep in second half stoppage time, the striker Svantesson was sent off for a late challenge from behind in midfield. A scuffle ensued when the Swope Park goalkeeper ran all the way from his box to get in Svantesson’s face, before the referee would separate the players and issue Zendejas a red for a second bookable offense after issuing him a yellow for dissent earlier in the game, and immediately blowing for full time.
And so, the teams would share the points. It was a tough night for the home team, who now have to negotiate a three game week, which continues Wednesday against Ottawa Fury, without either of their leading scorers, Zeiko Lewis or Svantesson, through International Duty and suspension respectively.
The Battery travel to Ottawa on Wednesday, June 26th. Kick off is at 7PM.
FEATURED IMAGE: GOALSCORER ROMARIO PIGGOTT COMPLETES A PASS IN A PREVIOUS GAME. ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTO