The Battery defeated Nashville SC on penalties in the Third Round of the U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday night. The two sides entered extra time knotted at 1-1 before playing out a scoreless thirty minutes to go to penalties.
Nashville SC dominated possession and attacking chances throughout the first and second half, but it was Nicque Daley and the Battery who opened the scoring in the 24th minute. Tah Brian Anunga started the play for the Battery, winning possession in the defensive third and moving the ball up field to winger Romario Piggott. Piggott played the ball into Daley who turned on defender Ken Tribbett after receiving the pass just past midfield. Daley showed his quickness and speed blowing past Tribbett and holding the Nashville defender off to create a yard or two of space in the box. It was an equally impressive shot, a curling ball that beat the outstretched arm of Connor Sparrow.
Following Daley’s opener, Nashville pressured the Battery defense for the remainder of the half but were unable to find an equalizer. Defenders Jarad van Schaik, Leland Archer, and Kyle Nelson all played 120 minutes in the win, keeping Nashville from finding an equalizer before halftime.
Coming out of half Nashville continued their controlled possession and attack and eventually found an equalizer in the 72nd minute. Kharlton Belmar scored the goal for Nashville, getting on the end of a low cross from the foot of Ropapa Mensah. Mensah found himself in a bit of space down the right side and fired a cross toward the streaking Belmar. Belmar beat Nelson to the cross and goalkeeper Philip Breno was unable to make the save.
It looked as if Nashville SC would grab a late winner in regular time, but Van Schaik and company held firm and kept Charleston in the match. Despite the low second-half possession, the Battery had two opportunities to win the match late in extra time. The first off the foot of substitute Dante Marini in the third minute of stoppage. Marini received a pass in the box and turned for a shot that was straight to Sparrow. A minute late, Lewis thought he had won it for Charleston, a curling left-footed attempt from just outside the eighteen struck the top side of the crossbar and bounced out for a goal kick.
Extra time proved to be much of the same, for both sides. Nashville worked hard to find a winner while the Battery packed in and played strong defensively. Philip Breno was the hero for Charleston in the penalty shootout. Breno stopped the first two Nashville attempts before watching Lebo Moloto’s shot hit the crossbar. Lewis, Archer, and Svantesson converted their penalties to secure the win for the Battery.
The Fourth Round draw will take place Thursday morning at 11 AM EST. The draw will be announced live on the U.S. Open Cup’s Twitter (@opencup). The Battery are back in USL Championship action on June 1st against Louisville City FC at 7:00 PM.