The Charleston Battery and Charlotte Independence drew, 1-1, at the Sportsplex at Matthews Saturday night in the second of three Southern Derbies this season.
The Battery was the stronger side in the opening half of the game and jumped out to a one-goal lead in the 25th minute through Kotaro Higashi. Ataulla Guerra created the goal after receiving the ball at the top of the 18-yard box and holding off two defenders before finding Higashi who was making a run into the penalty area. Higashi collected the pass and nutmegged the goalkeeper to score his first goal in USL.
Charlotte Head Coach Mike Jefferies was forced to make a few changes at halftime to combat the Battery attack, while his counterpart Mike Anhaeuser elected to go with more of the same. Charleston conceded possession in the second half, hitting the Independence on the counter and creating several quality scoring chances.
Despite losing the possession battle, the Battery looked to be in control until the Independence scored an equalizer against the run of play in the 79th minute. Mutaya Mwape picked up a loose ball just outside the penalty area to the right of Charleston’s goal. Mwape beat his defender and chipped a cross towards the back post that found the back of the net.
Neither side had a clear scoring chance following Charlotte’s late equalizer and the match ended in a draw for the third time in twelve meetings between the two teams. The Carolina Rivals will play once more this season at MUSC Health Stadium on September 15.
The match in Charlotte conlcudes a four-game road stretch for the Battery; they’ll return home to MUSC Health Stadium next Saturday to play the fourth-place Pittsburgh Riverhounds for the first time this season. The match will be followed by fireworks on the field with the team.