MIAMI – Miami FC produced a thrilling four-goal second half to rally for a late 4-3 victory against the Charleston Battery on Wednesday night at Riccardo Silva Stadium.
Needing all three points, the Battery got onto the front foot from the off. In the eighth minute, Stavros Zarokostas fired a curling shot that went just over the crossbar from the top of the penalty area. Four minutes later, a low cross by Zeiko Lewis from the left zipped through the six-yard area and just out of the reach of both Nicque Daley and Mauro Cichero as they slid in to try and finish.
The visitors went ahead off an ensuing corner kick, however, as another cross from Lewis on the left pinballed to Daley just inside the six-yard area and allowed him to tuck home a simple finish. Daley could have added a second a few minutes later as his speed carried him away from the defense’s high line for a 1-on-1 chance, but Miami goalkeeper Mark Pais came out and smothered his shot to keep the hosts only down a goal.
Daley made amends for his missed opportunity on the half-hour mark, though, as he nicked the ball past his defender on the right flank and quickly burst forward into the right side of the penalty area before finishing with a shot into the upper half of the net.
Miami pulled a goal back four minutes into the second half, however, as Romario Williams tucked home a close-range finish after a low cross by Prince Saydee from the right was cleverly dummied by Sebastian Velasquez at the near post allowing the ball to run to Williams for the finish. But a minute later Charleston regained its two-goal edge as Logan Gdula played a low ball through the penalty area from the right that found Robbie Crawford in the left side of the box. Crawford skipped past one defender, and then fired home into the left side of the net.
Zarokostas had a pair of chances for the Battery to add to their lead before the hour-mark, but then Miami’s comeback began in earnest. In the 60th minute, a deep corner kick from the right side by Velasquez found Vincent Bezecourt, whose headed finish tucked just inside the left post to make it a one-goal game again.
Four minutes later, Williams was brilliantly denied by Battery goalkeeper Joe Kuzminsky, who parried the Jamaican’s powerfully-struck finish over the crossbar. Off the ensuing corner kick, though, the ball was recycled wide to Velasquez on the right by Othello Bah, and the playmaker wove into the penalty area and lifted a finish from the edge of the six-yard area into the opposite corner of the net to even the score.
Charleston almost regained the lead again in the 66th minute as Dante Marini delivered a floating cross from the left that found Arthur Bosua at the back post for a header that hit the crossbar and caromed away to be cleared. Bezecourt then hit the woodwork for Miami as he couldn’t quite control a sliding, close-range finish from Williams’ low cross from the right with 16 minutes to go. Bezecourt had another chance as the game became stretched late on only for Kuzminsky to keep out his 1-on-1 opportunity.
With two minutes to go, however, a shot by Saydee from the left side of the penalty area was parried by Kuzminsky and fell to Gonzalez, whose shot squeezed past the goalkeeper and just crossed the goal line before Battery defender Jarad van Schaik could clear to earn Miami a thrilling comeback and leave the Battery without a point.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Sebastian Velasquez, Miami FC – Velasquez recorded an outstanding goal and an assist to lead Miami’s comeback while also completing 30 of 38 passes on the night.