FC Cincinnati photo.
The Charleston Battery battled back to earn a 2-2 draw with FC Cincinnati after falling behind early in front of more than 20,000 fans at Nippert Stadium Saturday night.
FC Cincinnati carried the momentum from their midweek Open Cup upset into the match against the Battery to get off to a quick start against the USL side. It took just four minutes for the hosts to open the scoring through Djiby Fall. The 6-1 center forward nodded home a Harrison Delbridge flick-on from Josu’s long free kick to give FCC an early advantage.
Following the early opening goal, the two teams traded possession as both defenses limited the attacking chances at either end. Cincinnati took a 1-0 lead into halftime.
The Battery finally broke through FC Cincinnati’s solid defensive shape in the 63rd minute. Ricky Garbanzo received the ball on the right flank and bent a low cross in behind the back four. The slightest of touches from Romario Williams was enough to knock Garbanzo’s cross in at the back post. The goal was Williams’ eleventh of the season, leaving him one behind the league leader Dane Kelly.
Charleston kept the pressure on FCC following the equalizer and scored a go-ahead goal ten minutes later. Neveal Hackshaw flicked on O’Brian Woodbine’s looping long throw at Mitch Hildebrandt’s near post. Forrest Lasso beat his defender to the ball and knocked the flick-on in with a great touch.
Cincinnati pulled themselves back level shortly after Lasso’s goal through a great individual effort from substitute Andrew Weideman. Weideman pulled a driven cross out of the air, turned, and hit a low left-footed volley that beat Odisnel Cooper at his back post.
Both teams had chances to win the game in the dying minutes, but neither could capitalize and the match ended in a draw. The draw keeps Charleston’s unbeaten record against FC Cincinnati alive (3-0-2) and preserves their first place position in the USL Eastern Conference.
After a full week on the road, the Battery will return to MUSC Health Stadium next Saturday to play the first of three consecutive home games. Charleston will take on Toronto FC II (6/24), Tampa Bay Rowdies (7/1), and Louisville City FC (7/8) during the three-game home stand.
CHARLESTON: Odisnel Cooper, Tah Brian Anunga (O’Brian Woodbine, 64), Taylor Mueller, Forrest Lasso (goal, 73), Quinton Griffith, Dante Marini (Maikel Chang, 87), Justin Portillo, Neveal Hackshaw, Kotaro Higashi, Ricky Garbanzo (Heviel Cordoves, 83), Romario Williams (yellow card, 50; goal, 63)
Unused substitutes: Joe Kuzminsky, Skylar Thomas, Jeffery Otoo,
CINCINNATI: Mitch Hildebrandt, Harrison Delbridge, Paul Nicholson, Austin Berry, Josu, Kenney Walker, Corben Bone, Justin Hoyte, Jimmy McLagulin, Djiby Fall (goal, 4), Danni Konig (yellow card, 45; Andrew Wiedeman, 68; goal, 81)
Unused substitutes: Dallas Jaye, Marco Dominguez, Kadeem Dacres, Tyler Polak, Aodhan Quinn, Matt Bahner