The Charlotte Independence and Charleston Battery played to a 0-0 draw at Matthews Sportsplex on Friday night. The Carolina rivals battled for crucial playoff points as they approach the business end of the season.
Charleston was the better side in the opening forty-five minutes, disrupting Charlotte's offensive game plan and creating ten shots, three of which were on target. Angelo Kelly and Tah Brian Anunga did a wonderful job of frustrating the dynamic duo of Alex and Enzo Martinez, stepping in front of errant passes and pressuring the pair of attackers before they had a chance to create. Anunga was the engine for Charleston in the midfield; winning five duels, blocking two shots, and winning possession for the Battery thirteen times throughout the match.
On the offensive side of the ball, Charleston looked to target man Arthur Bosua and star forward Zeiko Lewis. Lewis had Charleston's first chance of the evening after finding himself on the receiving end of a Jarad van Schaik pass in Charlotte's penalty area. Van Schaik picked out Lewis in the box after making a nice attacking run down the left side of the field. Lewis controlled the pass with ease and had a decent strike on goal but Brandon Miller was in a position to make the save. Five minutes later Van Schaik played a quality cross into the box and Bosua was able to rise above the Charlotte defense to make a play on the ball. Bosua watched his headed chance fly just wide of the right post and out for a Charlotte goal kick.
Valentin Sabella and the Independence responded with a chance of their own in 25th minute but a good save from Joe Kuzminsky kept the hosts from scoring the opener. Abdoulie Mansally picked out Enzo Martinez at the top of the Charleston box and Martinez chested a great ball into Sabella who was running in behind. Sabella's shot was low and Kuzminsky was able to get down to push the shot wide of the post. Charlotte finished the first half with four shots and only managed one attempt in the second half.
Charleston kept up the offensive pressure late into the second half and finished the match with a total of 19 shots. Kelly moved up into an attacking position for the final 20 minutes of the match and forced Miller into another great save with a well-placed shot. Kelly would create another chance for the Battery late, this time playing provider and finding Dante Marini making a late run into the box. Marini had a golden chance after grabbing Kelly's pass from just past the penalty spot but his shot was right into the chest of Miller who held on to secure a point for the Independence.
It's a quick turn around for Charleston who gets set for Memphis 901 FC on Monday night at MUSC Health Stadium. The match against Memphis, originally scheduled for July 13th, will kick off at 6:00 PM with gates opening at 4:30 PM. Parking is free and all tickets purchased for July's match will be honored at the box office. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling (843) 971-GOAL.
CHARLOTTE: Miller, Johnson, McDonough, Thicot, Mansally (YC 30', Maund 46'), Martinez (Oduro 76'), George (YC 82'), Bocanegra (Angking 76'), Martinez, Sabella (YC 55'), Herrera
Substitutes: Barnes, Angking, Roberts, Maund, Taku, Jones, Oduro
CHARLESTON: Kuzminsky, Bolt (YC 89'), Mueller (YC 68'), Archer, van Schaik, Marini, Kelly, Anunga (YC 47'), Rittmeyer (Piggott 46'), Lewis (YC 11', Higashi 78'), Bosua
Substitutes: Breno, Nelson, Piggott, Higashi, Svantesson, Daley