(July 7, 2021) — Tommy Williamson scored in the 85th minute to salvage a 1-1 draw for Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC on the road at the Charleston Battery on Wednesday afternoon at Patriots Point Soccer Complex in Mount Pleasant, S.C.
The Battery (3-3-3) took the lead in the ninth minute when Geobel Pérez scored after breaking in behind the Hounds’ defense. But after that early lapse, the Hounds (6-4-3) controlled play with 69 percent of possession and a whopping total of 596 passes to 277 for the Battery.
The match started at 4 p.m. instead of the originally scheduled 7:30 because of the approaching Tropical Storm Elsa. With the draw, the Hounds complete a hectic stretch of 10 matches in 40 days with a 6-2-2 record, which has lifted them to second place in the Atlantic Division.
The Battery caught the Hounds defense early, when Nicque Daley won possession just inside his own half of the field. Daley’s long pass forward hit Geobel Pérez around behind the left side of the Hounds defense, creating a breakaway.
Hounds keeper Danny Vitiello came off his line and got a touch on Pérez’s first shot, but the rebound dropped right back into the Battery player’s path for an easy finish.
From there, the Hounds began to dictate the pace, and they nearly tied the match on Mekeil Williams’ header from a corner kick in the 16th minute, only to have the goal scorer, Pérez, head it off the goal line.
Alex Dixon came close for the Hounds a minute before halftime, as his left-footed volley from a sharp angle struck the crossbar and bounded away, leaving the Hounds trailing 1-0 at half.
The Hounds picked right back up on the front foot, as Russell Cicerone forced a close-range save by Battery goalkeeper Joe Kuzminsky on a low feed from Dixon.
As the half progressed, the Hounds brought more attacking options off the bench. Louis Pérez entered in the 64th minute after starting the past two matches, Williamson checked in for the first time in the 81st minute, and both first-year pros factored into the tying goal.
Williamson did some excellent work in the left corner to maintain possession with two defenders on him before finally clipping the ball to Louis Pérez in space. Pérez carried the ball toward the goal line and sent a cross toward goal, but the Battery defense was there to block the pass. Williamson, staying with the play, recovered the ball after it had been blocked away and struck a powerful right-footed shot into the top right corner of the net.
The goal was Williamson’s second of the season, and though the Hounds held the ball for 72 percent of the time in the second half, they couldn’t find a winning goal in the late moments.
Hounds Man of the Match
While Williamson’s rocket shot decided the outcome, Kenardo Forbes gets the nod for one of his most influential games of the season. He completed 69 of 76 passes (90.8 percent), 54 of which came in the Charleston half of the field, and he led the team with seven crosses (four that connected) and 96 total touches.
After a grueling stretch, the Hounds will get 10 days off between games before hosting Loudoun United FC at 7 p.m. July 17 at Highmark Stadium. Loudoun (2-8-0) remains at the bottom of the Atlantic Division but got the better of the Hounds in their last meeting, 2-1, on June 30 in Virginia.
Riverhounds SC lineup (4-2-3-1) — Danny Vitiello; Preston Kilwien (Shane Wiedt 64’), Mekeil Williams, Jalen Robinson (Tommy Williamson 81’), Dani Rovira (Louis Pérez 64’); Todd Wharton (Anthony Velarde 81’), Danny Griffin; Russell Cicerone, Kenardo Forbes, Alex Dixon; Albert Dikwa
Charleston Battery lineup (3-5-2) — Joe Kuzminsky; Ben Di Rosa, Patrick Hogan, Erik McCue; Burke Fahling, Dionysius Harmon (Temi Adesodun 69’), Angelo Kelly-Rosales, Robbie Crawford (Romario Piggott 63’), Geobel Pérez (Logan Gdula 73’); Nicque Daley (Joel Bunting 62’), Claudio Repetto
CHS — Geobel Pérez 9’
PIT — Tommy Williamson 85’
CHS — Benjamin Di Rosa 43’ (caution - unsporting behavior)
PIT — Mekeil Williams 76’ (caution - unsporting behavior)
CHS — Burke Fahling 78’ (caution - unsporting behavior)
PIT — Kenardo Forbes 90+1’ (caution - unsporting behavior)
CHS — Joe Kuzminsky 90+2’ (caution - delaying the restart)
CHS — head coach Mike Anhaeuser 90+5' (caution - dissent)