The Charleston Battery face The Villages SC from the PDL in the 2016 US Open Cup. Photo: Charleston Battery
UPDATE: The US Soccer Federation announced that The Villages SC fielded an ineligible player during their match against the Charleston Battery and the federation has ruled that they have been disqualified and the Charleston Battery will advance to Round 3.
The Villages SC’s inaugural cup run is off to a spectacular start after pulling off a Second Round upset over The Charleston Battery of the USL in penalties.
The Villages’ attack got things started early, with forward Carlos Araujo burying a shot passed Keeper Alex Tambakis in the 24th minute.
Despite the early deficit Charleston seemingly dominated the remainder of the 1st half finding the lion’s share of chances, but The Villages’ keeper Paulo Pita came to play, putting on a monster performance keeping the Battery attack at bay.
The Battery would finally break even in the waning moments of the 2nd half, when MF Dante Marini put a spectacular bending left-footed shot passed Pita and into the bottom left corner of the net to level the score going into halftime.
Charleston continued to control the match through the bulk of the 2nd half, but The Villages managed to take the lead once again in the 66th minute.
Midfielder Danilo Dias would pick up the assist on the goal, putting in a great cross to Araujo who headed in his goal of the night.
With the clock winding down the Battery pushed the attack forward, finding chance after chance and finally breaking through the brick wall that was Paulo Pita in the 81st minute.
Forward Chris Tsonis would score the late equalizer, finding the receiving end of a corner by MF Maikel Chang.
Regulation ended with the score still knotted up at 2-2, taking the match into extra time.
Charleston looked the better side through both halves of extra time with The Villages rarely finding their way out of their defensive 3rd. Pita would prove to be the decisive difference for The Villages keeping out shot after shot by the Battery attack in extra time and coming up big for his club when the match went to penalties.
Pita would go on to save the Battery’s 1st two penalty attempts, with both Ricky Garbanzo and Romario Williams converting the 3rd and 4th, But The Villages would convert on all four attempts ending the Battery’s 2016 Cup campaign.
It’s the third consecutive year the Battery have seen their US Open Cup run end in penalties to a team from the state of Florida. A disappointing early exit for a club known for making deep runs into the later rounds of the tournament.
The Villages SC’s victory advances the club to the 3rd round where they will travel to Everbank Field to take on NASL side Jacksonville Armada.