A 94th minute Romario Williams goal lifted the Battery to a dramatic 1-0 win over USL newcomers FC Cincinnati at MUSC Health Stadium on Saturday night.
Williams, on loan from Montreal Impact, had a dream start to his year with the Battery. After checking into the game in the 69th minute as substitute, Williams immediately showed glimpses of what made him the No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft. His true moment of quality came on the game-deciding goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time in the second half.
The goal came after an exchange between midfielder Maikel Chang and outside back O'Brian Woodbine. Woodbine slotted the ball through to Williams, who was making a slashing run to the near post. The Jamaican forward collected the pass well, rounded Cincinnati goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt, and tucked the ball into the open net.
"I saw Chang get the ball and I thought one thing: I’m going to put it one time across the goal.," said Woodbine, the Jamaican fullback whose pass unlocked Williams for the finish. "I did it and we got a goal, so it’s very good. We scored in the 93rd minute, so that’s fun."
Williams, 21, arrived in Charleston earlier this week.
"He picked his head up and I just made a run to the near post," Williams said. "The coach emphasized it before the game: Just run to the near post. You never know what may happen. And I was able to tuck it away.
"We have a great group of guys. Guys that are hungry. They want to make some noise in the USL. Charleston has always been successful at this level. I’m coming in with that same mentality, the same drive, the same hunger, the same desire to help this team any way I can."
Coach Mike Anhaeuser was pleased with the effort his players gave.
"What a great run by Obi in the 93rd minute" Anhaeuser said. "To have the legs to get forward and get it to him? But it was a good combination. And it’s unbelievable to get three points in the first game. Because they’re a good team. They’re going to be battling for a spot. I can tell you that right now."
Rain early in the day made for a sloppy game, but Charleston's makeshift back four of Taylor Mueller, Shawn Ferguson, Forrest Lasso, and Woodbine and goalkeeper Alex Tambakis did well to cut out any threats that came the Battery's way. Tambakis, who also earned a clean sheet against New York Cosmos a week ago, opened his USL account with a shutout on three saves and showed sure hands tough conditions.
Cincinnati kept possession well throughout the game and outshot Charleston 10-7, but never really threatened Tambakis' goal. The Battery created a few dangerous chances and hit the post in each half before Williams' eventual game winner.
"We’re going to take the three points and walk out of here" Anhaeuser said, "because we’ve got to go on the road next week and get the job done."