Battery Battle Miami in 1-1 Draw
MIAMI – The Charleston Battery concluded their two-game road trip Saturday night in a 1-1 draw with The Miami FC. Patrick Hogan notched his first career professional goal in the first half, but a second-half equalizer by Miami’s Lamar Walker nullified Hogan’s efforts and saw the evening’s points shared. The Battery will take the two road results and return home for a meeting with New York Red Bulls II this Wednesday.
After nearly an hour-and-a-half delay to kickoff due to inclement weather in the Miami area, both sides showed they were eager to get the game going from the start. The Battery pressed early with a trio of attempts and a corner kick within the first six minutes, although none converted. Miami threatened on the other end with an 8th-minute shot from Christiano Francois that was ultimately saved by Joe Kuzminsky. The hosts nearly scored off a miscue from Kuzminsky whose touch inside the 6-yard box went right towards Billy Forbes, but Forbes was unable to get his shot past Kuzminsky’s saving effort.
Charleston would strike first in the 14th minute following a Zeiko Lewis corner kick, with Patrick Hogan heading home his first professional goal to make the score 0-1. Lewis’ cross was well placed to the near post and Hogan was the tallest one to the ball, sending it past goalkeeper Connor Sparrow’s dive. Josh Penn looked to add a second goal moments later, however Sparrow was there to make the save. Miami continued to push on in search of an equalizer following Hogan’s goal. Callum Chapman-Page nearly did just that at the half-hour mark following a corner kick, sending in a dangerous header that was tip-saved by Kuzminsky over the bar.
Miami would have a few more opportunities from the corner as the half played out yet were unable to find an equalizer. Through the first 45 minutes, the Battery retained a narrow majority of possession (52.1%) and outshot Miami (8 to 5).
The half began with Miami threatening out of the gate, winning a corner in the first minute of resumed action with another header from Chapman-Page that went just over the crossbar. The hosts came close again in the 53rd minute with a shot from Devon Williams that struck off the right post. Lamar Walker, entering the game off the bench, began to make his presence felt with a pair of blocked shots in the 58th, stopped by Hogan, and in the 64th minute as Miami pressed forward for an equalizer. Walker successfully converted in the 67th minute following a forward orchestrated by Ariel Martinez, who was credited for the assist, to make the score 1-1.
As the game progressed, so did the intensity, as both sides fought to break the deadlock in search of three points. Despite Miami’s advances, the Battery defense remained resolute in denying them a second score. Leland Archer showed his pace against Miami’s Josh Perez in the 72nd minute when Perez was making a break-away run towards Kuzminsky. Archer caught Perez inside the box and stopped the forward in his tracks, nullifying the threat completely. Penn looked to help in Charleston’s efforts for another goal in the 85th minute, however Sparrow was there for the save. Kuzminsky came up big in the 89th minute with a clutch stop on a header from Callum-Page, pawing away a ball that looked to be on its way to the back of the net.
Kuzminsky’s intervention was followed by a quick shot from Martinez that hit off the bar before Jarad van Schaik sent the ball out of play. Martinez provided Miami’s last promising opportunity during stoppage time with a shot inside the box, but Archer was there again to deny the hosts.
Battery Head Coach Michael Anhaeuser gave his verdict on the match, crediting the team’s strong start following the delayed kickoff to conclude the road trip.
”It was the opposite of Wednesday [against Atlanta], we played a really good first half, we kept [Miami] on their heels,” said Anhaeuser. “The second half, [Miami] made a couple adjustments. You could see our legs, on a second road game, getting a little heavy. If we could have just kept it 0-1 to us for about five or ten more minutes, I think we could have been in good shape.”
Coach Anhaeuser was proud of his defense for staying firm after Miami’s goal in preserving a point out of the game.
”[Miami] got the goal like they have in the past, but we didn’t give up the second goal like last time we were down here, so you take the positives out of it,” said Anhaeuser. “This is a tough place to come into and play, so we’re going to take the point.”
Battery forward Zeiko Lewis said the team will now look to build on the Miami result following the tough away stand.
”It was a hard fought point, I think we started very strong but faded as the game went on,” said Lewis. “We were able to hold off the pressure Miami was putting us under in the second half, but a point against a very good Miami team is something to be proud of and we continue to learn and grow into the next game.”
For the Battery, attention now turns to this Wednesday’s home meeting with New York Red Bulls II.
”We got two points on a two game road trip, we’ll regroup and then it’s going to be a big game for us on Wednesday,” said Anhaeuser.
The point secured Saturday night places the Battery in fifth in the Atlantic Division table. The Black and Yellow will look to keep climbing the standings as they return home Wednesday, September 22 for the fourth and final bout against New York Red Bulls II at 7 p.m. EST.