Coming off a 1-1 draw against New York City FC, Orlando City continued its run in the 12th annual Carolina Challenge Cup tonight, taking on former USL rivals, the Charleston Battery in soggy conditions at Blackbaud Stadium.
The Lions moved ahead early on the fixture when defender Brek Shea scored his first goal from Kaká’s cross in the 10th minute of play. However, less than 20 minutes later, the Battery leveled the scoreline as Navian Boyd found the back of the net.
In the 26th minute, the referee signaled for a weather delay due to heavy rain and lightning in the area. After further deliberation, officials decided to end the match due to severe weather conditions, concluding the game in a 1-1 tie.
“There was some really good stuff from us in the first 15 to 20 minutes, but then we got too complacent and started turning the ball over too easily,” said Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath. “Obviously it’s great for Brek to get on the score-sheet, but the conditions made things quite difficult and it’s a disappointment because we needed the minutes. But, we can’t change the weather and neither can Charleston, so it’s no one’s fault.”
“I’m a little bit disappointed with their goal because we turned the ball over cheaply, and you might say that’s down to the conditions, but if you turn the ball over in dangerous areas then you will cause yourself some problems,” continued Heath. “We’ll have a look at the video, address it, and take it from there.”
2’ The Lions opened up the match by winning an early free-kick from just outside the area, after impressive build-up down the middle of the park. Kaká’s ensuing free-kick was deflected wide.
10’ Building on their overwhelming possession, Orlando jumped on the score-sheet early in the first half when Brek Shea converted Kaká’s cross inside the area. Shea’s initial header was blocked, but the defender did well to tuck away his rebound effort.
12’ The Battery’s first chance of the match came in threatening fashion, as Shawn Ferguson came close to equalizing. Ricketts’ initial save on Ferguson’s strike landed back to the Battery midfielder, but the Jamaican goalkeeper was able to parry his follow-up strike.
17’ With Orlando forcing immense pressure on the South Carolina side, Charleston began bunkering in behind the ball, forming two solid lines in their half as Orlando continued to control possession.
26’ The Battery began venturing forward on the counter-attack midway through the first half, leading to midfielder Navian Boyd’s equalizer. Boyd was left unmarked in the box, on the receiving end of Zach Prince’s cross, and did well to slot the ball past Ricketts into the back of the net.
26’ The referee signaled for the weather delay due to severe weather, before eventually deciding to end the match at a 1-1 final score.
NOTE: The draw places Orlando City in third place (4 points) in the Carolina Challenge Cup, behind the Charleston Battery and Houston Dynamo.