CINCINNATI, OH --- Andrew Wiedeman scored in the 80th minute to tie the score as FC Cincinnati and Charleston Battery finished in a 2-2 draw Sat. night at Nippert Stadium. FCC came away with their second draw in as many games in USL action to improve to 4-5-5 in league play and 7-5-5 overall.
“I think we were absolutely exhausted. It's been a very emotional week for the players, coaches and even the fans, having three games in eight days,” said Head Coach Alan Koch. “We knew tonight would a tough match. I think the group showed a lot of character to battle back once we were down. At the end of the day we would have liked to get the win but, we were able to get the draw and the point”.
Wiedeman’s goal, his first of the year, bookended a pair of second-half goals by Charleston that pushed the Battery ahead and erased a one-goal deficit in the fourth minute by Djiby.
The game-tying play was initiated by Josu, who sent the pass into the box to Weideman. The San Ramon, Calif. native played the first touch, flicked a second into the air and then headed the ball down before finishing with a left-footed blast past keeper Odisnel Cooper.
The goal lifted the FCC side, who had an early lead by Djiby deflated by Charleston in the second half. Djiby scored his 10th goal of the year and seventh in USL play at 3:15 on the clock, marking it as the fastest scored for the club. Sean Okoli held the previous record with a goal against Charlotte Independence that was logged at 4:34 on Apr. 9. Josu factored in the team’s initial goal as well, sparking the play with a free kick from outside of the box. Cooper came off his line to meet the play on the far post, but Harrison Delbridge was the first to the ball, heading it towards the goal and Djiby beat his man to direct it into the empty net.
The Battery did all their damage in the second period with both goals logged within 10 minutes. Romario Williams tied the match in the 63rd minute, getting a clean pass from Ricky Garbanzo and pushing the ball past Mitch Hildebrandt in the lower left corner.
Then in the 72nd minute, Charleston claimed the lead. A throw-in from the left side was headed by Neveal Hackshaw to Forrest Lasso, who was camped directly in front of the goal and in position to direct a point-blank shot into the net.
FCC was limited to four shots in the first half but created several opportunities. In the sixth minute, Jimmy McLaughlin broke free of the Charleston defense and split two defenders with a pass to Danni König but was unable to find his forward as the ball bounced just out of reach for König.
Kenney Walker and König worked a give-and-go in the 11th minute with Walker delivering a long pass but he also was unable to connect, missing König on the far post by inches.
The Battery gained momentum in the latter half of the first period, threatening the FCC goal. Williams was awarded a free kick in the 25th minute and the Jamaican striker found Taylor Mueller, whose header drifted wide.
Hildebrandt withstood several Battery attacks, including in the 35th minute when he was upended by Garbanzo as the two converged on a service into the box. Seconds later, Charleston found themselves in front of the FCC goal but was unable to come up with shot on goal. The offensive threats continued in the 36th with Justin Portillo looking for the equalizer with a shot from 30 yards that went straight to Hildebrandt, who made the save. It was Williams again in the 38th minute with a try at the goal but swung the ball wide right.
McLaughlin had the last opportunity for FCC in the first half, carrying the ball upfield and taking a left-footed shot that was deflected out for a corner kick. Walker’s cross on the set piece was met by both König and Cooper with the goalie reaching high to intercept the ball and denying König an attempt.
In the second half, FCC posted a 60.3 possession percentage but faced a few early opportunities by Charleston. The Battery had its first look of the second half in the 56th minute, receiving a pass from near the goal line but was unable to put a clean touch on the ball as it dribbled to Hildebrandt, who quickly scooped it up.
A corner on the ensuing play was punched away by Hildbrandt. The ball pinballed until a flick from the FCC backfield found McLaughlin in a one-on-on situation, but the midfielder was knocked off the ball just outside of the 18-yard box.
FCC rallied and Walker found himself with time in the 62nd minute after receiving a pass from McLaughlin and sent a floating volley to Djiby, who headed the ball out of the bounds.
Djiby nearly had his second goal of the match and the go-ahead score in the 70th minute, working a give-and-go with McLaughlin that led to the striker unmarked with the ball. He fired a shot but Cooper slid and blocked the ball for another FCC corner.
Both teams had a final opportunity with Delbridge and Heviel Cordoves slinging a shot towards goal but both would come up empty.
FCC hosts Saint Louis FC next Sat., Jun. 24 at Nippert Stadium at 7:00 p.m.
FCC: Mitch Hildebrandt, Paul Nicholson, Austin Berry, Harrison Delbridge, Kenney Walker, Corben Bone, Josu, Jimmy McLaughlin, Justin Hoyte, Djiby, Danni König
CHS: Odisnel Cooper, Tah Brian Anung, Taylor Mueller, Forrest Lasso, Quinton Griffith, Justin Portillo, Neveal Hackshaw, Dante Marini, Kotaro Higashi, Ricky Garbanzo, Romario Williams
4th: FCC – Djiby (Harrison Delbridge)
58th: CHS – Romario Williams (Ricky Garbanzo)
72nd: CHS – Forrest Lasso (Neveal Hackshaw)
80th: FCC – Andrew Wiedeman (Josu)