The Charleston Battery probably deserved three points out of Wednesday night’s game with the Charlotte Eagles.
But sometimes, the soccer gods can be cruel.
Despite getting second-half goals from Heviel Cordoves and Dane Kelly, the Battery had to settle for a 2-2 tie against Charlotte before a rain-soaked crowd of 2,057 at Blackbaud Stadium.
The Battery, who are 0-1-2 in their last three homes games, are now 6-3-2 (20 points) on the season. Charlotte is 3-2-5 (14 points).
Leading 2-1 with less than a minute left in stoppage time, Charlotte midfielder Drew Yates headed in the tying goal after a scramble in front of the net.
While the Battery still got a point out of the game, it almost felt like a loss.
“We worked our tails off to get back into the game in the second half and probably deserved the three points,” said Battery coach Mike Anhaeuser. “They had a bounce go their way and sometimes that happens in soccer. You have to shake it off and move forward. You really want to get those three points at home. For the players, it’s harder to swallow than a loss, but it’s not. We did get a point.”
With a steady downpour from the opening kickoff, the field and the play was a bit sloppy at times.
“The weather effected both teams,” Anhaeuser said. “It was a factor, but not a huge one. We thought about changing our gameplan a little bit, but we didn’t want to change what we’d done during training.”
The weather was certainly a factor on the Eagles’ goal in the first half. After the Battery failed to clear a ball just outside the penalty box, Charlotte midfielder Juan Guzman picked up the turnover and chipped it past the Battery’s defensive wall to forward Stephen Okai. Okai ran onto the loose ball just outside the 18-yard box and volleyed it past Charleston keeper Odisnel Cooper for the score.
The Battery, who outshot the Eagles, 18-6, during the game, dominated large chunks of the second half.
“I thought we got into the locker room at halftime and did a good job of regrouping,” Anhaeuser said.
The Battery tied the game at 1 on Cordoves’ bending shot in the 61st minute. After a throw-in, midfielder Nicki Patterson headed the ball up to Cordoves just outside the penalty area. Cordoves cut to the middle of the field and whipped in a bending shot to the back post that beat Eagles keeper Eric Reed for the score.
“He’s been finishing all week,” Anhaeuser said. “That was just a great strike from him. I’m not sure their keeper really expected him to have that heavy of a shot.”
Eight minutes later, the Battery took a 2-1 lead on Kelly’s team-leading fourth goal of the season. Cordoves chipped a ball to Kelly, who stepped past an Eagle defender and easily beat Reed for the score.
“A nice pass from Heviel and a nice finish from Dane,” Anhaeuser said. “We’ve been wanting to play with two forwards and now it looks like we’ve got some options.”
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