It was a frustrating night Friday evening, as the Charleston Battery were forced to share the points with rivals, the Charlotte Independence, after a 0-0 draw, a result that helped neither team.
The hosts had more possession throughout the match, but the Battery had the most of the concrete chances, racking up no less than 20 shots. However, none of these would find the back of the net, and the visitors were left ruing the missed opportunities.
After a very skittish opening from both sides, the Black and Yellow would force the first chance of the evening, when Zeiko Lewis would receive a low cross from the left, take a touch to set himself, and fire at goal, only for the effort to be blocked, and the corner that followed would be wasted.
After 19′, a shot from distance by Angelo Kelly would yield a corner, taken by Lewis from the right, which was initially cleared. However, Tah Brian Anunga would fire back in from the inside edge of the box, and though his shot looked destined for the goal, it would be cleared away by a defender and out of danger.
A few minutes later, Jarad van Schaik would center a free kick from the right, which found the head of Arthur Bosua, but went drifting wide and out for a goal kick.
Joe Kuzminsky was forced into his first save of the evening on 25′, when a long ball chested down by Enzo Martinez would find the feet of Valentin Cabella, whose shot across goal had the ‘keeper sprawling to his right to palm away for a corner, that would eventually be cleared.
A pinpoint Dante Marini cross found the head of Zeiko Lewis just two minutes after, but his downward header would go wide.
Lewis would have a credible shout for a penalty after some great buildup on 28, that led to the Black and Yellow’s leading scorer going over the outstretched leg of a defender, and yet the referee was unimpressed, instead giving Tah Brian Anunga a foul outside the box a few seconds later after he was fouled outside the box.
Charlotte attacker Cabella would be dangerous again with ten minutes to go in the first half, finding his way into the box on the left side of the area and forcing Kuzminsky into another save at his near post, which went out for a corner that was cleared.
To close out the half, it was Charlotte who had the final chance, when Jorge Herrera sucked in the Battery’s two center backs, went free on the right, only for Joe Kuzminsky to save his shot.
The halftime whistle came shortly following that. Both teams had their chances after a quiet opening 15 minutes, but the Battery could say they had the better of opportunities, though could understandably be frustrated not to turn at least one of them home.
It was Charlotte who would have the better of things in the opening part of the second 45, forcing Joe Kuzminsky into a save after an initial cross from a free kick was cleared, though the stopper was equal to the effort to push the ball back in.
Just before the hour mark, Dante Marini would break down the left, eventually finding Zeiko Lewis on the edge of the box with a pullback, but Lewis would fire an effort over the bar.
The Battery would counter from a cleared Charlotte corner on 72′, and as the ball would be crossed into the box, it would be settled by Dante Marini, though it was his turn to fire over the bar.
Shortly after, substitute Kotaro Higashi would be on the end of a great cross from deep, though he was unaware of the time he had in the area and snatched at his shot, sending the ball high and wide.
Arthur Bosua and midfielder Angelo Kelly would combine on the left edge of the box on 77′, and the shot from the latter would force a save out of the Charlotte ‘keeper and go out for a corner that would eventually be cleared.
After 81′, the Battery thought they had the go-ahead goal, when Higashi would burst down the left, cut inside, and find Bosua with a slide rule pass, but though he put the ball in the back of the net, it was adjudged to be offside.
With five minutes left of normal time, a low cross from the right would find Dante Marini, but, off balance, his effort went straight to the ‘keeper, who would require two attempts, but would smother to foil the on-rushing Jarad van Schaik.
In four minutes of stoppage time, the Battery would continue to press, but the final whistle would blow with both teams sharing the points.
It wasn’t the result either team needed, with both on either side of the playoff bubble, and for the Battery especially, it wasn’t how a side would want to kick off a packed September.
That packed schedule continues on Monday, September 2nd, when the Battery face Memphis 901 at home, in a rearranged fixture from their rain-soaked July. Kick off is at 6PM, and the game will be streamed on ESPN+.
FEATURED IMAGE COURTESY ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY