An early 2nd half strike from Stavros Zarokostas was cancelled out late as the Charleston Battery were forced to share the points with The Miami FC.
Despite coming in on good form, the Battery struggled to find a footing early on in the game, though Miami failed to take the game by the scruff of the neck early on. It wasn’t until the 19th minute that Miami had their first real chance.
It was from former Battery striker Romario Williams, who connected with a low cross to tap in past Joe Kuzminsky, but the goal was chalked off for offside as the ball came in.
And then came another opportunity for Williams in the 25th as the home side beat the offside trap with a tasty through ball, but Williams’ effort from the right of the area would go high over the bar.
Vincent Bezecourt would find his striker with a pinpoint through ball but it was smothered by Kuzminsky.
The two teams went in at half time level, but it was clear that Miami’s place at the bottom of the Group H table didn’t mean they would roll over for the Black and Yellow, especially with Miami’s chances of a playoff berth on the line if they failed to win.
But it was the Battery who would find the breakthrough. Miami midfielder Janos Lobe was muscled off the ball by Logan Gdula, who would find Zeiko Lewis. The playmaker would then roll it into the path of Stavros Zarokostas, who took a touch before curling an effort off the crossbar and in to the top right corner.
It was a bit of a smash and grab for the Battery, but added to the list of wonderful Zarokostas strikes after he proved to be the difference in last week’s win over Tampa, and put his team in front.
Nicque Daley would then latch on to a through ball on the right after 53′, before having a shot saved by Miami ‘keeper Mark Pais.
Down the other end just a minute later, Juan Sebastian Velasquez would have a low shot for Miami hit the base of the right post. A followup effort would fall to Romario Williams, who would hit the bar, and a follow up to that effort would end up in the stands.
It was madness in front of the Battery goal, but the Black and Yellow remained in front, and looked to find a second through a free kick, but AJ Paterson’s effort would go over the bar.
After the hour mark, an effort from Vincent Bezecourt looked dangerous but went high over the bar from the left as Miami continued to push for an equalizer.
But then, on 68′, a pinpoint Robbie Crawford cross would find AJ Paterson, whose towering, powerful header cracked the bar, as it was the Battery’s turn to hit the woodwork.
And after substitutions and the midfield battle began to slow the play down, a lifeline came for Miami with just four minutes of normal time remaining.
Mohamed Thiaw would pick the ball up on the right edge of the box from a Juan Velasquez pass, before laying off for Tomas Granitto, whose shot took a deflection off of a teammate and left Kuzminsky flatfooted as it went past him to level the scores.
There was a stroke of luck about it, but given the balance of play and the lack of insurance from the Battery, it was deserved for Miami.
The Battery then would have to make sure they remained on their toes, as inside the final minute, Miami would force a free kick that dropped dangerously on the right, before being cleared out for a corner, and then eventually find its way out of danger.
That’s how it finished. It was a frustrating result for the Battery, who looked to knock Atlanta United 2 out of playoff contention, with the third place team having played two games more headed into the evening, but they’ll take solace in the fact that they’re a point closer to the playoffs with five games to play.
The first of those final five games comes on Friday, September 11th as the Battery return to Patriot’s Point to face the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Kick off is at 7:30PM, and the match will be streamed on ESPN+.
FEATURED IMAGE: BATTERY PLAYERS LELAND ARCHER AND ROBBIE CRAWFORD BATTLE WITH ROMARIO WILLIAMS FOR POSSESSION. MIAMI FC PHOTO