Heviel Cordoves scored in the first half and the Charleston Battery was able to hold on for the 1-0 win over Miami United in the Second Round of the 2015 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup on Wednesday night at Blackbaud Stadium.
Cordoves scored in the 40th minute against the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) side after Memo Rodriguez played a ball from the right side that curved right into Cordoves’ path. He beat the defenders and easily slotted the ball past goalkeeper Eric Perilla for the goal.
The Battery move on to Round 3 where they will host the NASL’s Fort Lauderdale Strikers at Blackbaud Stadium on May 27 at 7:30 p.m.
Charleston, which is in second place in the USL Eastern Conference, dominated the game in the first half, but Miami was able to survive the onslaught with limited damage and did a good job of making it an even contest in the second half.
The Battery could have had multiple goals in the first 45 minutes, as Cordoves nearly scored in the opening minute on a backpass to Perilla that went awry and Dante Marini hit the post in the fifth minute.
It felt like Charleston was destined to score several goals, but ultimately only one was needed. Miami came out much stronger in the second half, so the Battery spent more time on defense and looked to counterattack with long balls over the midfield.
Charleston coach Mike Anhaeuser said the longer the game went on, the more confident Miami felt that they had a chance to tie or win the game.
“They made a few mistakes and we didn’t make them pay early, and that’s what you need to do against a team like that. They were able to bleed through their mistakes and got their confidence,” he said.
The Battery had several opportunities to put the game away, but Perilla made five saves on the night, including an amazing stop in the 79th minute. Cordoves, on a breakaway from one of those quick counterattacks down the flanks, found Navion Boyd alone in front of goal and delivered the ball to him. Boyd directed it to goal but somehow Perilla slid over, extended his leg and was able to kick the ball off the line.
Miami finished the game with seven shots, six of which had to be saved by Battery goalkeeper Odisnel Cooper. Ignacio Calcagno had one of the best shots for Miami when he whipped a ball in from outside the box, and he earned his side a corner kick in the first half. But the NPSL team struggled to create chances against the Battery defense.
The second half turned feisty, as Cordoves was sent off for shoving a Miami player in the back. Because it was ruled as violent conduct, Cordoves will be ineligible for the next two Cup games, should the Battery advance that far. In total, there were eight yellow cards handed out.
Charleston central midfielder Sebastian Thuriere said he has never known a US Open Cup game to be easy. He is a player that can attack or defend well, but had to spend a lot of time in his own half as the Battery played down a man for the final seven minutes of regulation.
“Toward the end of the game we realized the pressure was on them to push,” said Thuriere. “They added some extra defenders and the card made it harder on us,”