The Charleston Battery opened their 2019 USL Championship season Saturday night with a 1-1 draw to Ottawa Fury FC.
It was an electric start for the Battery as midfielder, Kotaro Higashi, forced a save on the Ottawa keeper twenty seconds into the game. Minutes later the Battery had another opportunity to score the games first goal as O'Brian Woodbine played in a great cross that deflected off of Ian Svantessons head and just wide of the far post.
Ottawa Fury quickly regrouped and scored an early goal in the sixth minute to put the visitors up 1-0. A pass across the box found the feet of Kevin Oliveira who clipped the underside of the crossbar, the ball finding its way into the back of the net.
The Battery had thought they drew things level in the eighteenth minute when Higashi hit another great strike. The initial save was made and Romario Piggott followed up the rebound with ease. A late offsides call on Piggott disallowed the goal.
The Battery would have a chance for redemption in the 65th minute. Once again, Ian Svantesson was the hero for the Battery rescuing a point in a game that produced numerous chances late. A wonderful run by Tah Brian Anunga pulled in three defenders and the powerful midfielder slipped a fantastic ball through to Higashi. Higashi's powerful shot couldn't be controlled by the goalkeeper and Svantesson made no mistake on the follow-up.
"We've been working on rebounds for the past two weeks," said Battery head coach Mike Anhaeuser, "he's improving in situations where he can be dangerous".
A number of new Battery faces made their debuts, including AJ Patterson who started the match at left back and played a full ninety. Arthur Bosua came on in the 74th minute and caused defenders problems with his size and strength. Dante Marini made an appearance as a substitute after missing 2018 due to a knee injury.
Next up for the Battery is USL Championship newcomer Hartford Athletic on Saturday, March 16th at MUSC Health Stadium. Hartford Athletic lost 2-0 against Atlanta United II in their USL Championship debut. Tickets for the match are available for purchase at tickets.charlestonbattery.com or by calling (843) 971-GOAL!
CHARLESTON: Kuzminsky, Woodbine, Mueller, Bolt, Paterson, Candela, Anunga, Rittmeyer (Marini 76'), Higashi (Bosua 74'), Piggott, Svantesson (goal, 65', Kelly 87')
Substitutes: Beebe, Breno, Nelson, Kelly, Marini, van Schaik, Arthur
OTTAWA: Attakora, Fall (Barnathan 85'), Mannella (de Freitas 68'), Obasi, Haworth, Oliveira (goal, 16'), Monsalve, Ward, Francois, Dixon (Gagnon Lapare 78'), Meilleur-Giguere
Substitutes: Tisseur, Kinumre, Barnathan, de Freitas, Lapare