DANIEL ISLAND — Wednesday’s game between Charleston and Richmond showed why the sides are two of the best in the league, as the two heavyweights fought to a 1-1 draw at Blackbaud Stadium.
Both sides will stay in their respective positions in the Eastern Conference of the USL — Charleston in second with 24 points and Richmond in third with 23. Both sides are still trying to catch Rochester, which has 25 points with one less game played.
Charleston scored first but wasn’t able to hold the lead for very long as Richmond tied it up 17 minutes later.
“If we could have held the lead it might’ve been a little different,” Battery coach Mike Anhaeuser said. “They might’ve tried to come a little earlier and it might’ve been different because we could’ve opened and used a couple different guys,” he said.
Charleston opened the scoring in the 27th minute when Ricky Garbanzo tapped in a ball shot by Shawn Ferguson. Justin Portillo took a corner kick that landed near Ferguson, who collected the ball and shot it on goal. It got by goalkeeper Brad Knighton and was probably headed into the net on its own, but Garbanzo made sure by sticking a foot out.
It looked like the Kickers had tied it almost immediately when Jason Yeisley headed a ball into Charleston’s net, but the goal was called back because he was offside.
However, Richmond did eventually even the score just before halftime. Midfielder Samuel Asante received the ball from a throw in and dashed through the middle of the Battery defense, splitting the defenders and shooting the ball into the right corner of the net and past goalkeeper Odisnel Cooper.
“I think we had control and we got the goal, even though we weren’t putting too much pressure but we got the finish there. But we just made a breakdown on the throw in,” Anhaeuser said. “We got kind of unbalanced and the ball popped right to their center mid and we didn’t close and then he finished it nice to the corner.”
Charleston has a week to prepare for the fourth round U.S. Open Cup meeting with Orlando City of MLS on June 17. That game begins at 7:30 p.m. on Daniel Island. The next league game for the Battery will be on the road at Charlotte on June 20.
Besides the one goal where he had no defenders to help, Cooper played great for Charleston, recording six saves, including several spectacular diving clearances to keep Richmond from getting the go-ahead goal. The defense also pitched in, as Taylor Muller and Emmanuel Adjetey each had to clear a ball off the goal line.
Forward Dane Kelly was red carded in Saturday’s game against Wilmington, so he was unavailable Wednesday. Heviel Cordoves started at forward but was subbed out in the 73rd minute. That meant Garbanzo shifted to forward, and captain Jared van Schaik also moved forward, out of his usual position as a more defensive midfielder.
Van Schaik said he is able to play multiple positions, so he didn’t mind the move.
“We’re shorthanded. Dane’s out. We really only have Cordoves and Dane up there, and I’m a guy that can play a lot of positions, so coach uses me as a utility player sometimes,” van Schaik said.
Charleston has a week to prepare for the 4th round U.S. Open Cup meeting with Orlando City of MLS on June 17. That game begins at 7:30 p.m. on Daniel Island. The next league game for the Battery will be on the road at Charlotte on June 20.
Charleston: Cooper, Woodbine, Mueller, Ferguson (assist), Adjetey, Boyd (Sub. Prince 71’), Portillo, van Schaik, Chang (Sub. Marini 82’), Garbanzo (goal 27’), Cordoves (Sub. Thuriere 73’)
Richmond: Knighton, Yomby, Basso (yellow 78’, Sub. Gorres 82’), Troyer, Roberts, Mishu, Asante (goal 44’, Sub. Ownby 59’), Jeffrey, Davis IV (yellow 33’, Sub. Delicate 82’), Owosu Sekyere (yellow 52’ Sub. Callahan 59’), Yeisley.