The Battery played to a 1-1 draw against North Carolina FC on Saturday night in a thrilling finish at WakeMed Soccer Park.
It was the first meeting this season between the Carolina rivals and the first match of the Southern Derby Cup. The first half was one of chances for both sides and early opportunities in dangerous areas for Ian Svantesson put pressure on the North Carolina FC defense. Zeiko Lewis and Romario Piggott were the focal points of the Battery attack leading to the early chances. For North Carolina FC, Ben Speas and Marios Lomis spearheaded the attack while Donovan Ewolo had the best chance for the home side. A glancing header that went just wide of the post and the outstretched hands of Joe Kuzminsky.
The Battery’s best chance of the first half came off a North Carolina FC free kick in the 27th minute. Lewis intercepted a quickly taken free kick inside the North Carolina defensive half and had no one to beat but the keeper. He beat the keeper but not the post, the ball ricocheting off the inside of the post and North Carolina FC were able to clear. The Battery and North Carolina FC would continue to battle to a 0-0 draw going into the half.
Svantesson broke the deadlock with a goal in the 70th minute to put the Battery on top 1-0. After a build-up in attacking play, Lewis played a perfectly weighted ball to Svantesson on the corner of the box. Svantesson took a couple of quick touches to put himself in a better position and fired a ball past Tambakis. The forward would fight for a second chance a few moments later after getting tangled up in the box while shedding off two defenders.
It was heartbreak for the Battery in the final minute of stoppage time as Tommy McCabe brought the hosts level on a fantastic goal from outside the box. A scramble on the edge of the area ended with McCabe sending the ball into the top left corner of the Battery goal. Despite the late equalizer, Coach Anhaeuser applauded the team's defensive effort on the night. “The guys played so well. We are committed to defending every game and we make it a priority. Our guys are back with another year of experience and we’re going to be just as good as we were last year (defensively). We can be the best defense in the league.”
The Battery return home next week to face off against Charlotte Independence on April 7th at 3:30 PM. Tickets are available for purchase at charlestonbattery.com/tickets or by calling (843) 971-GOAL!
CHARLESTON: Kuzminsky, Bolt (YC 89’), Archer, Mueller, Woodbine, van Schaik, Candela (YC 81’), Rittmeyer, Lewis (Assist 70’, Kelly 84’), Piggott, Svantesson (goal 70’)
Substitutes: Beebe, Paterson, Kelly, Marini, Higashi, Bosua
NORTH CAROLINA: Tambakis, Guillen, Brotherton (YC 78’), Comsia, Taylor, Ewolo (Perez 67’), McCabe (goal 90+3’), Miller (Chester 79’), Da Luz (YC 45+1’), Speas, Lomis (Kristo 79’)
Substitutes: MacLeod, Perez, Igbekoyi, Smith, Kristo, Chester, Duvernay