USL PRO Game Report
Saturday, March 22, 2014
CHARLESTON, S.C. -- The Charleston Battery and Orlando City shared the honors in the opening game of the 2014 USL PRO season on Saturday night at Blackbaud Stadium as they played to a 1-1 draw in front of 3,773 fans. The Battery took the lead in the 65th minute through Mamdou Diouf, but Orlando’s Austin da Luz leveled 10 minutes later to salvage a draw for the 2013 champions.
Neither team was able to pull ahead in the first half despite chances for both. Charleston’s Amadou Sanyang provided the best chance of the half in the 32nd minute when he glanced a header from a corner kick just wide of the goal.
Orlando threatened with two good chances of their own at the end of the first half, but goalkeeper Odisnel Cooper saved well to deny Kevin Molino and Darwin Ceren and keep the game scoreless at the break.
Cooper was back in action in the 55th minute after some good build-up play from Orlando saw the ball crossed into the box and headed on frame by Corey Hertzog. Cooper dived across to his left and managed to make the save.
Charleston took the lead just after the hour-mark through Diouf as the loanee from the Vancouver Whitecaps made his professional debut. Diouf received a pass on the left side from substitute forward Omar Salgado, cut past his defender 12 yards from goal and fired a laser just inside the near post.
Orlando fought back and leveled the score in the 75th minute. Charleston failed to clear the ball properly from the penalty area, and the ricocheted pass fell to da Luz, who drilled his shot past Cooper into the left side of the goal.
Both teams would have chances to find a winner late on as the game became stretched, and Charleston was reduced to 10 men in stoppage time as Quinton Griffith was sent off for a strong challenge. However, neither the Battery or the Lions were able to find a decisive finish, and both took a point from the opening game of the season.
The Battery continue their season next Saturday, March 29th at Blackbaud Stadium with a match versus the Richmond Kickers; kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET. The Lions, meanwhile, return home to face the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex next Saturday, March 29 at 7:30 p.m. ET.