Photo courtesy of Harrisburg City Islanders
HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Charleston Battery were shorthanded for more than 35 minutes and down a goal. Charleston fought well to gain the lead on the Harrisburg City Islanders, but the host side managed to say the last word. In the sixth minute of second-half stoppage time, Jonny Mendoza scored a clutch equalizer for Harrisburg to earn a 2-2 draw against Charleston on Saturday at FNB Field. The Battery, despite being down to 10 men, looked to have the momentum on their side as Ataulla Guerra and Romario Williams scored the equalizer and go-ahead goal, respectively. Earlier, Tah Anunga picked up his second caution and subsequently was sent off for Charleston. The opening tally came from Harrisburg, a 23rd-minute beauty of a strike from Rasheed Olabiyi that put Harrisburg on top. Charleston moves to 6-1-2 (20 points) overall and 2-0-1 on the road. Harrisburg moves to 2-3-3 (9 points) overall and 1-0-2 at home.
23’ – HAR – Rasheed Olabiyi
68’ – CHS – Ataulla Guerra (Kotaro Higashi)
69’ – CHS – Romario Williams
90’+6 – HAR – Jonny Mendoza (Cardel Benbow)
#HARvCHS: Full match and Opta box score
Three Things That Mattered:
1. Harrisburg should have been in a better spot playing up a man and with the lead. Nevertheless, the host team managed to salvage something down the stretch in front of its home base and it came in the form of a stoppage-time strike from Jonny Mendoza. It was a last-ditch effort in which the City Islanders crossed in from the right, followed by header passes from Aaron Wheeler and Cardel Benbow. Mendoza simply was able to fight his way through a bit more than the Charleston defense to get a food on the ball and finish at the near right post.
2. The Battery appeared to be on the ropes when they went down a man early in the second half. This year’s Charleston side has certainly found a way to find an answer when a dilemma has crossed the club. The Battery responded to the tune of an Ataulla Guerra equalizer and Romario Williams’ seventh goal of the season in the span of a minute. The equalizer was certainly the better buildup of the match with Dante Marini crossing in from the right side to Kotaro Higashi, who dropped it off with one touch to Guerra who snuck his shot inside the right post to tie things up at 1-1.
3. Entering Saturday’s game, the Battery had posted back-to-back clean sheets, so it was going to take an impressive strike for the City Islanders to break through. They found it through a right-footed gem of a shot by Rasheed Olabiyi. In the 23rd minute, Charleston had a poor giveaway in midfield, and Olabiyi was there to pick up the ball. After taking a touch, he uncorked a shot from approximately 30 yards out, sneaking it inside the left post past diving Battery goalkeeper Alex Tambakis as Harrisburg took the 1-0 lead.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:
Romario Williams, Charleston Battery – Williams generated plenty of chances Saturday with five shots, three on frame, and a go-ahead goal while his side was playing with 10 men.
Harrisburg City Islanders vs. Pittsburgh Riverhounds – May 24, 6:30 p.m. ET, FNB Field
Charleston Battery at Bethlehem Steel FC – May 25. 11 a.m. ET, Goodman Stadium