Tsonis earns Battery a point in battle with Louisville

The Charleston Battery and Louisville City FC took a point each on Saturday night, as the match finished in a 1-1 draw. The first half didn’t make for great viewing, as it seemed no one could string a pass together, but Chandler Hoffman opened the scoring for Louisville before Chris Tsonis equalized late.

Louisville were sloppy early, and the Battery were the better side for much of the first half, but couldn’t make the hosts pay the price. The Battery were very physical for much of the game, and it took a the home side a bit by surprise, as the referee was allowing play to go on, even after several hard challenges.

On 18′, it was Zach Prince with what was probably the best chance of the first half, getting free in midfield and taking a shot from distance that had the goalkeeper scrambling, but the shot would go wide at the near post.

Louisville had a number of corners throughout the first half, but the Battery stood firm and cleared the majority of balls at the first attempt.

Heviel Cordoves would have a shot after latching on to a0 header down by Ricky Garbanzo, but the striker sailed the shot over the bar, perhaps leaning back away from the effort.

Attaulah Guerra would have a go after holding off one or two defenders, then getting to the edge of the box, but his shot was wide of the target.

Louisville made three of their five allotted subs at half-time, in hopes that  they could put more of their own stamp on the game.

It was George Davis who had a crack just a few minutes in, but his shot was deflected, and the corner that followed was cleared by the Battery.

Kadeem Dakers had his shot deflected for a corner, but the ensuing corner only led to a counter from the Battery, which eventually fell to Quinton Griffith, whose cross was deflected, and the Battery’s own corner would be cleared.

Heviel Cordoves would receive the first booking of the evening, but that happened to be the least of the Battery’s worries, when on 62′, a Louisville counter fell to the boot of Cameron Lancaster on the right, who beat two players before crossing the ball in. The ball had originally looked to find the feet of Chandler Hoffman before going in, but replays showed that Taylor Mueller was unlucky enough to misshit his clearance past his own ‘keeper, and Louisville were 1-0 up. It was unlucky, and a little bit cruel on the Battery’s defense, given that they seemed to be repelling everything away, but they would have to pick themselves up and claw themselves back into the game.

Romario Williams entered the game for Heviel Cordoves before the Battery got the match restarted after the goal. The Battery’s leading scorer, it was clear the change meant the Battery were going to fight for the equalizer.

On 67,’ A cross from the right found Maikel Chang, who played Obi Woodbine on the overlap, and he played the ball in. The cross was cleared, though Attaulah Guerra would have a pop on the rebound, but the shot went wide.

Then, a couple minutes later, a cleared LouCity corner fell to Romario Williams, who turned on the afterburners to lead the counter, but was fouled before he could get into a dangerous position. The free kick was cleared, though, and the hosts were back on the ball.

Ricky Garbanzo would be replaced for the last 20 minutes by Chris Tsonis. Garbanzo had done what was asked of him, leading the pressing game for the Battery when they didn’t have the ball, pressuring the ‘keeper into making a possible mistake. But his race was run, and the Battery needed another center forward.

Kadeem Dakers would send in a dangerous cross, but the danger was read by Alex Tambakis in the Battery goal.

Zach Prince was booked and subsequently replaced by Emmanuel Adjetey on 78′, seemingly to continue moonlighting as a winger as he had been doing in the past couple games.

Lousiville City would have another corner collected by Tambakis with ten minutes to go, and Attaulah Guerra would be brought off soon after for Forrest Lasso who’s known to come on as a striker in dire situations.

And with five minutes to go, the Battery got a lifeline. A free kick was given just beyond midfield, which was taken quickly and played out to the right flank and played into the box. The Louisville ‘keeper struggled to come and collect, and dropped the ball. In the melee, it was Chris Tsonis who powered home an equalizer from close range, and the score was 1-1. The home side were complaining, but a foul wasn’t given by the referee and the goal stood.

In the 90th minute, Louisville had a corner, but a foul was given after Tambakis went down holding his groin area, and play would eventually resume.

The home side would have the last chance of the evening, when a Louisville free kick was taken from 35 yards out that had a good amount of curl on it, but the shot lacked power and went into the hands of Tambakis.

The teams would have to settle for a share of the points. The Battery stay in fourth place, but just a point behind Louisville, with a game in hand. The Battery return home Wednesday to face Orlando City B. Kick off is scheduled for 7:30. The match will be streamed via ESPN 3.

TOP IMAGE: QUINTON GRIFFITH FIGHTS FOR A BALL DURING A PREVIOUS MEETING BETWEEN THE BATTERY AND LCFC THIS SEASON. ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTO

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