Jarad van Schaik’s spinning scissor volley was not enough to get the Charleston Battery over the line as they were held to a 1-1 draw away from home against St. Louis FC
The Battery, coming off a demoralizing home loss against the Tampa Bay Rowdies last week, were much improved on Saturday, returning to a back four and making five changes, though one was forced through the suspension of Attaula Guerra.
Despite the improvements, it was St. Louis who started the better team. Russell Cicerone’s shot from distance after 12 minutes had power but was high over Joe Kuzminsky’s bar.
On 14′, Kuzminsky had his first save to make, getting himself behind a deflected effort from Kadeem Dakers to get his hands on the ball.
Soon after, Lewis Hilton would benefit from a bit of give and go between Cicerone and Kyle Greig, but his effort from the left edge of the box would only force Kuzminsky into a save.
Cicerone, after 23′ would then speed past three defenders on the way to the right wing before finding Nik Vlastos on the edge of the box, but he would pull his shot wide.
Cicerone again would have a run at the Battery defense on 27′, and his cross to Matt Bahner on the left would lead to a shot going agonizingly off the bar.
The Battery would then have to earn their way back into the game, and after 37′, an acrobatic bicycle kick would force a save out of the ‘keeper from Ian Svantesson, and the St. Louis defense was unable to fully clear, giving away a second and third corner in quick succession.
Eventually, a corner from the right was laid off by Zeiko Lewis to the feet of Obi Woodbine, who would return the favor, as Lewis played the ball hard and low across the box, and as the hosts tried to force clear, the ball sat up for Jarad van Schaik, initially with his back to goal, but he would shape his body around the ball on the volley and send a bouncing shot into the net for 1-0.
It was a little bit against the run of play, and van Schaik’s celebrations said as much, but if Svantesson’s effort in the lead up to the goal would’ve been pretty, van Schaik’s was just as wonderful.
On 41′, Matt Bahner would find himself on the end of a decent looking attack, but send his cross into the box into the arms of Kuzminsky.
And that’s how the first half ended, with a bit of magic separating the teams going into the break
The two teams came out much more equal in the second half, though the hosts would again have the first chance, when Lewis Hilton’s free kick on 48′ looked menacing, but Kuzminsky would be behind it to beat it down and then collapse onto it at the second attempt.
A free kick in a similar position would end in a similar result, about ten minutes later, with Hilton at the controls to curl around the wall but with Kuzminsky behind it.
And then, on 67, Tah Brian Anunga would foul in the box, as the hosts were looking to create in tight spaces as everyone had picked up their mark, and the referee would point to the spot and give St Louis a chance to equalize, which Sam Fink scored, and the sides were level.
It was harsh on the Battery, who had started the second half the better of the two teams, though had failed to make the change in momentum count with an insurance goal, and however soft the penalty may have been, were punished for not doing so.
However, just a short time later, on 72′, Battery goalscorer Jarad van Schaik had the goalkeeper scrambling with a free kick from the right that hung up in the air and nearly found its way in at the back post. The keeper would get a hand to the effort, however, and the ensuing corner would be cleared.
The visitors would then have to play the remaining nine minutes and change with 10 men following a red card to Leland Archer, who raised his hand to an opponent following the concession of a throw in.
But the Battery would survive and earn a point away from home, in a game where both sides had chances and most likely needed to win, each side near the edge of the fight for playoff places as we’ve rounded the corner into the second half of the season.
The Battery next face Loudon United on Wednesday, August 14th, with kick off set for 7:30PM. The match will be streamed on ESPN+.
FEATURED IMAGE: GOALSCORER JARAD VAN SCHAIK INVOLVED IN A CHALLENGE IN THIS YEAR’S FIRST MEETING BETWEEN ST. LOUIS AND THE BATTERY. PHOTO CREDIT ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY