Battery, Independence battle to draw

Roxanna Taylor/Special to The Post and Courier Charleston's Austin Savage (right) battles for control of the ball against Charlotte on Saturday at Blackbaud Stadium.

The Charleston Battery and the Charlotte Independence played to a 1-1 draw on Saturday, with neither team being able to break through for the win.

Dane Kelly put Charleston ahead in the 14th minute, but Charlotte quickly tied it on a penalty kick in the 23rd.

Kelly put Charleston in front early with his long-distance strike to the bottom corner of the goal. O’Brian Woodbine took a throw from the sideline and hurled the ball to Kelly, who controlled it at the top of the box. He turned, moved the ball to his left foot and rolled it past goalkeeper John Berner and into the net.

Charlotte tied it at one apiece on a penalty kick later in the first half. Jorge Herrera was dribbling at the top of the box when he decided to cut to his left. He went down, apparently after being tripped, and the referee awarded a penalty to the Independence. Herrera took it and beat Charleston’s Kevin Corby with a lofted shot down the middle.

Corby was a late addition to the roster, after regular starter Odisnel Cooper was scratched from the lineup right before kickoff. It was his first start at home for Charleston, although he started the game at NY Red Bulls II last week. He said he was told he would be starting before warmups, but the short notice didn’t rattle him at all.

“I usually prepare every game like I’m starting, for a time like this,” he said.

Charlotte didn’t put an extraordinary amount of shots on target, but they did force Corby to make a couple of crucial saves. Ryan Finley seemed to be all over the field for the visitors and involved in almost every play going forward. He found himself alone in front of goal in the 51st minute, but Corby quickly came off of his line and knocked the ball away.

The goalkeeper was quick to credit his defensive teammates for keeping the Independence away from his net.

“It’s easy when you’ve got those guys in front of you. Taylor, Shawn, Adjetey, Obi, those guys are solid,” Corby said. “That’s an MLS starting four right there. Those guys are great players and my team really stepped up.”

The Battery beat Charlotte 3-2 in North Carolina on March 27, but the Independence did a much better job of containing the Charleston attack this time around. Battery captain Jared van Schaik said Charlotte was much more organized defensively on Saturday.

“They were more solid defensively, tough to break down. I think we caught them on the counter a couple times, but they really tightened up and didn’t give us as much in this game,” van Schaik said.

Charlotte’s Paolo Del Piccolo lost his composure and was sent off in the 80th minute after receiving his second yellow card of the game for a push on Navion Boyd, so Charleston had an advantage for the closing moments, but was unable to break through the defense. Coach Mike Anhaeuser said it was disappointing not to get the win at home, but Charlotte deserved credit for the way they played.

“They came in and defended really well and played a lot of long balls to put us under pressure defensively. … In the end it’s disappointing because they got the red card and we couldn’t get anything around the outside and get that goal in the end,” Anhaeuser said.

Woodbine created Kelly’s goal with his long throw in, which is something that he has a talent for. He took almost every throw in Charlotte’s territory since he was able to get the ball into the box from the sidelines.

Anhaeuser said it is a useful weapon, but he wants to see the players on the receiving end be a little more physical.

“We’re going to work on it. We need to challenge a little more,” Anhaeuser said, noting that Charlotte won several headers from the throws and was able to counterattack.

Charleston, in the midst of a very busy stretch of games, will host Fort Lauderdale of the NASL on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. for the third round of the U.S. Open Cup.

“Right now we’re going to take the point because we’ve got Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday, so we’re going to regroup and give ourselves an extra day off tomorrow,” Anhaeuser said.

Charleston: Corby, Woodbine, Mueller, Ferguson, Adjetey, Boyd (Sub. Thuriere 81’ ), Portillo, Van Schaik, Chang (Sub. Prince 45’, yellow 90’), Savage (Sub. Garbanzo 67’), Kelly (Sub. Cordoves 73’)

Charlotte: Berner, Jerome, Slogic, Newnam, Duckeit, Ribeiro, Thompson (Sub. Alvarez 58’), Martinez, Del Piccolo (yellow 35’. Red 80’), Finley (Sub. Zahorski 70’), Herrera