Battery can’t climb out of 3-0 deficit

CHARLOTTE — The visiting Battery fell behind 3-0, lost a player to a second-half ejection, and then came within a stoppage-time save of equalizing a sharp Independence unit, losing 3-2 at Ramblewood Soccer Complex on Saturday night.

The Independence (2-2-0) jumped to the early 2-0 lead in a furious five minutes around the half-hour mark. Midfielder Enzo Martinez, making his first start of 2016, put away a penalty kick earned by Charlotte off contact with Battery captain and center back Shawn Ferguson.

The two Jacks’ goals bookended a controversial moment in the 28th minute, when Justin Portillo delivered a well-placed free kick toward goalkeeper Cody Mizell’s back post. Referee Mark Kadlecik immediately signaled that a foul had been committed against Ferguson and pointed to the penalty spot. But he waved off the call.

Charleston (2-1-1) limped to the break with its first 0-2 deficit, having surrendered its first penalty goal and first goal from the run-of-play. The score reflected the Independence’s dominance in the first 45, when the Jacks outshot the Battery 10-1 while winning every major statistical category.

Though the Battery would outshoot their hosts in the second half 11-8, Charlotte would threaten throughout, ultimately forcing Alexander Tambakis into a career-high seven saves. But the last big chance of the night came in four-minutes of stoppage, when the Battery once again worked the ball out to Williams. The Jamaican hustled himself into a chance for another moment of at-the-death dramatics, but couldn’t beat Mizell for the equalizer.

The loss dumped Charleston into a tie for second in the Eastern Conference and ceded Charlotte a tie in the 2016 Southern Derby Cup table after two games.