Romario Williams scored a late winner as the Battery picked up the three points against Toronto FC II. The visitors can be happy with their performance, and after TFC had shut down well, the dam finally burst late on.
The Battery played with two out and out center forwards, with Heviel Cordoves and Romario Williams up front in a 4-3-1-2 of sorts. This is one of the few times this has happened so far this year, with the usual partnership of Ricky Garbanzo and Williams as more of a 4-4-1-1.
The Battery were the better team for most of the first half, creating half chances, but finding little room to maneuver inside the box in front of a well-oiled Toronto defense. In the 12th minute, Attaulah Guerra, who seems to have found a bit of a niche as an attacking midfielder, got to the byline well, but his ball back across found no one.
Quinton Griffith got a ball in a minute later, which had a bit too much purchase on it, but was misplayed by the Toronto ‘keeper, only to be cleared by Wesley Charpie.
Five minutes later, some good build up play fell to Zach Prince, whose effort went wide of goal.
The Battery had their first corner of the evening after 26 minutes, but the cross was headed away before a second ball was collected by the goalkeeper, Phil Di Bennardo.
Maikel Chang looked dangerous on the ball with a run down the middle on 37 but his pass toward the front two from the edge of the box was cleared.
Sal Bernal then came close shortly before half time, after he latched onto a long ball and took a shot, but the effort went into the side netting.
Emmanuel Adjetey played in Guerra on 44′, who was given time to turn and shoot, but the defense held firm for Toronto, and the deflected shot went back off of Guerra for a goal kick.
So, at the end of the first half, it was the Battery who had been the better side, but Toronto’s defense remained stout and denied them a real chance at goal.
And it looked as if though hard work would pay off when Toronto came quick out the blocks for the 2nd half. The ball was quickly played wide and in to Bernal, but his shot went high and over the bar.
Justin Portillo would play Guerra through on 56′, but his shot was high. Guerra had been one of the Battery’s best players up until that point, but had been unlucky not to find the back of the net as he had gotten into some dangerous positions.
Toronto were dealt a blow just after the hour mark when midfielder Malik Johnson, who had come on just six minutes earlier, and was showing well with his early touches, sustained an injury and had to be replaced. This played into the Battery’s hands a little, as TFC began to come out a little bit more when the sub was made, and with Johnson going off so early after coming on, the game plan changed again for the home side.
During the stoppage in play as Johnson was hurt, the Battery made a switch themselves, bringing on Ricky Garbanzo for Heviel Cordoves. Cordoves showed well in his hour and change on the field, and was a focal point of the attack in the first half, but it was Garbanzo who would prove to be crucial as the match wore on.
It was indeed Garbanzo who would press a defender high up the pitch to win the ball on 68′, the defender unaware of his surroundings. Garbanzo would play into Romario Williams, whose shot was well saved by the goalkeeper, as the Battery maybe began to believe that this would maybe be one of those days.
With just under a quarter of an hour to go, some more good build up play led to a post up by Williams, who laid off to Portillo, and the Battery’s midfield metronome had a crack, but it went straight at the ‘keeper.
But only a minute later, Charpie, who made an important play at the other end for Toronto in the first half, whipped in a dangerous ball toward Sal Bernal, who dove for the header at the back post, but he couldn’t direct his effort on goal.
On 79’, Zach Prince would tee up a shot from just outside the box that seemed destined for the top corner, but Toronto’s Di Bennardo made a great save to deny the midfielder.
But then, a few minutes later, as the Battery continued to go at the home side’s defense, the pressure finally told. A ball was cut out in midfield, before Ricky Garbanzo latched on and ran at the back line, finding room and taking a shot, which was well saved by the ‘keeper, but spilled right into the path of Romario Williams, who cleaned up the rebound and slotted home.
The Battery would have been feeling a certain weight lift off their shoulders, as the game seemed to be going the way that this fixture had at around this time last year, in which Quillan Roberts made 10 saves in a match where the Battery were the better team, but ended up losing in stoppage time after Roberts’ inspired performance.
But the match wasn’t over yet, as Sal Bernal latched onto a ball with four minutes left of normal time, looking to put an effort on goal, but he was called offside.
And then, deep into stoppage time, things only got worse for TFC II, as Skylar Thomas was shown a second yellow for a challenge off the ball on Chris Tsonis, who replaced the goalscorer Williams shortly after his goal.
And after the full four minutes of added time was played, the referee blew for full time, giving the Battery all three points.
In the end, the Black and Yellow could say that the deserved the win, after controlling large portions of the match, and will return home happy after doing plenty of hard work to earn it.
The Battery’s next match is on Saturday, July 2nd as they return home to face the Richmond Kickers. Kick-off is at 7:30.
TOP IMAGE: ROMARIO WILLIAMS FINISHES TO PUT THE BATTERY AHEAD IN THE BATTERY’S LAST MEETING WITH TFC II. ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTO