Ian Svantesson (center) scored his second goal of the 2019 Carolina Challenge Cup in a 1-1 draw with Columbus Crew SC on Wednesday night. | Photo courtesy Charleston Battery
CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Charleston Battery earned their first point of the 2019 Carolina Challenge Cup on Wednesday night as they held defending champion Columbus Crew SC to a 1-1 draw at MUSC Health Stadium.
Cold, rainy conditions played a part early in the match as players attempted to find their footing on the slick surface. Both sides took advantage of the conditions by putting pressure on attackers and defenders alike.
Ian Svantesson put the Battery up 1-0 in the 25th minute for his second goal of the tournament. A quick spell of attacking play led to a Battery corner which resulted in the goal. Jared van Schaik's cross found the head of Svantesson, giving Crew SC goalkeeper Jon Kempin little chance at making a save.
The Battery came inches from doubling their lead late in the first half thanks to a powerful header from midfielder Vincenzo Candela. Again, it was van Schaik that provided the service as his chipped ball in from the left side connected with Candela. The header hit the middle of the crossbar before being cleared by the Columbus defense.
The Battery nearly made it to half time unscathed, but a stoppage-time goal from Robinho leveled things up. Crew SC attacker Edward Opoku provided the assist with a quick pass across the penalty area which evaded the Battery defense and found Robinho in the middle of the box.
Columbus applied more pressure in the second half, and it took a big performance by Battery goalkeeper Joe Kuzminsky and defender Leland Archer to preserve the draw for the hosts. A late Crew SC attack forced a number of saves from Kuzminsky and a critical block on the goal line from Archer, but Charleston held on to earn a creditable draw.
The second game of the night also ended in a 1-1 draw as Roland Lamah scored a late equalizer for FC Cincinnati against the Chicago Fire.
Aleksandar Katai opened the scoring in the 53rd minute after the Fire won possession deep inside Cincinnati’s half, with forward Nemanja Nikolic playing the ball into space to create the scoring opportunity. With six minutes remaining in the match, however, FCC leveled the score when midfielder Lamah converted a long-range effort to keep Cincinnati on top of the tournament’s round-robin standings.