In the final game of seven straight at home, the Charleston Battery came from behind to earn a 1-1 draw with Nashville SC Saturday night at MUSC Health Stadium. The draw extends the Battery’s unbeaten streak to ten games in all competitions.
The match was the first ever meeting between Charleston and Nashville, and both teams spent the first 20 minutes feeling each other out. The two sides traded possession and knocked the ball around in their defensive and middle thirds of the field, with neither getting quality looks at goal before Liam Doyle broke the deadlock.
Doyle and Nashville struck first from a free kick in the 25th minute. Taylor Mueller was whistled for a foul on what looked like a fair challenge at the top of the 18-yard box. On the ensuing set play, Lebo Moloto rolled the ball into the path of an onrushing Doyle who smashed a low shot towards goal that beat Joe Kuzminsky to his left.
The goal was only the second scored on Kuzminsky this season and put the Battery behind for the first time since March 31. The 1-0 score held until halftime, leaving the the home side within striking distance at the break.
“You could see falling behind affected us because the goal came after a pretty tough call,” said Battery Head Coach Mike Anhaeuser. “You have to give our guys credit. We talked at halftime about being a little more aggressive and moving a center midfielder up into the attack, which would turn them a little more.”
After halftime adjustments, it didn’t take long for the veteran Battery side to find an equalizer. The goal came in the 50th minute after a good spell of possession that ended with Tah Brian Anunga playing Jay Bolt through down the right flank. Anunga’s pass found Bolt who was darting towards the endline. Bolt collected the pass and found Ataulla Guerra inside the penalty area. Guerra calmly finished Bolt’s cutback to score his team-high sixth goal of the season and bring the Battery level.
“It felt really good to get that goal,” said Bolt after the match. “In the first half we were really close but we didn’t have that final product. Tah played a good ball in behind and I finally got on the end of one. I cut it back, Ataulla loves to wait for that cutback ball, and of course he finished it.”
Both sides had chances to win the match in the closing 20 minutes, but neither could convert. The draw brings the Battery’s record to 5-2-4 on the season. Charleston earned 11 points of a possible 15 during the month-long homestand and will look to carry that momentum into four straight matches on the road.
“It’s a little disappointing, obviously,” said Anhaeuser. “Getting 13 points would have been great; but 11 points with three wins and two draws is pretty darn good and moved us up the table. Now we have to get refocused for Indy away on Wednesday and then the Open Cup game the following week.”
Following Saturday’s draw, the Battery will head to Indianapolis to take on Indy Eleven at Lucas Oil Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 PM on Wednesday, May 30.
-per Charleston Battery