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City FC Credits Mint Conditioning

By CHARLIE CORR -, 06/04/17, 9:45AM EDT


Louisville says fitness played role in draw vs. Battery

Photo courtesy of Zach Bland / Charleston Battery

CHARLESTON, S.C. – There are draws that are a bitter pill to swallow and there are those that each side can come away with some optimism.

For Louisville City FC and the Charleston Battery on Saturday, both head coaches voiced the latter.

Louisville’s positivity is much warranted as the club rallied from a two-goal deficit to earn a 4-4 road draw at MUSC Health Stadium. A well-struck Brian Ownby goal and then a Forrest Lasso own goal within the span of a couple minutes late in the second half propelled Louisville toward a road point.

The real story, though, was Louisville’s heavy control of the ball for most of the match. City FC was a nuisance toward Charleston’s defense, and the club considers its conditioning as being the primary factor in coming away with a result against the Battery.

“We knew that even when they scored that fourth goal and started keeping the ball, we knew that they weren’t as fit as us,” said City FC’s Oscar Jimenez, who scored in first-half stoppage time to cut into a first-half brace from the Battery’s Romario Williams. “I don’t know if this was just me, but when I was playing I feel like all of our guys were full-on sprinting all the time and getting to every ball and trying to win the knockdowns. They were getting gassed, so what I saw was that all my teammates were fitter than them. I was like, ‘Let’s go.’ We were ready for it.”

In fact, Louisville was of the mindset that it could have found a winner down the stretch with the momentum gained down the stretch.

“Obviously the guys work exceptionally hard,” City FC Head Coach James O’Connor said. “There’s a fight that we showed – a willingness to not accept the way the game was going. It was brilliant. It really was. The drive that we showed to keep going, we really could’ve nicked one in at the end.”

There are two sides to each story, and from the Battery’s standpoint, this match was one with unfortunate bounces. Charleston certainly has a case with three of those City FC tallies. Jimenez’s and George Davis IV’s goals both were deflected, and then Lasso’s own goal was an element of bad luck.

“When you look back on it, you think if you give up four goals then it’s a defensive problem and maybe we made a couple of mistakes on that side of the ball,” Battery Head Coach Mike Anhaeuser said. “But it was an own goal and two deflected goals, which is just unlucky. To score four goals after having the road trip that we had, I’m going to take a lot of positives out of tonight.”

Charleston still sits atop the East (7-2-3, 24 points) while Louisville is fourth (4-1-4, 16 points) through Saturday. They continually are among the top of the standings, and there will be more critical regular-season and potentially postseason run-ins between the Battery and City FC when 2017 is in the books.

“They’re a top team and they always play us tough,” Anhaeuser said. “They’re going to be one of the teams we have to battle for playoff positioning and potentially in the playoffs at the end of the season, so in the end we have to take the point.”

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