On a perfect evening for soccer at Riccardo Silva Stadium, Miami FC shared a point with the visiting Charleston Battery.
After two losses on the road the Orange and Blue were probably relieved to get back to familiar surroundings. There was some unfamiliarity on the team sheet though. A welcome return for livewire Sebastian Velasquez to the lineup, Lloyd Sam suiting up for the injured Othello Bah and a first start for defender Jalen Markey. Hassan Ndam anchored the defense with Marco Franco and Markey playing in a three man back line, wing backs Sam and Janos Löbe given the freedom to push forward.
FC had the ball in the net early on. Romario Williams finishing off a low cross by Löbe, but Löbe was narrowly offside when released by Vincent Bezecourt. Miami’s football looked confident and was flowing freely meaning Charleston spent the first 45 pinned back in their own half. Velasquez was outstanding, taking on players all over the field. Miami might have felt they should have made their dominance count. It was however a huge positive that a defense that has had a nasty habit of conceding weak early goals this season for once looked rock solid.
It was all the more galling when Battery took the lead just after the half. Stavros Zarokostas crashing a perfect drive home from well outside the area. Pais had no chance.
Charleston battened down the hatches, Miami poured forward. Velasquez had a shot turned onto the post, Williams put the rebound against the bar and at the third time of asking Bezecourt blazed over with an open goal at his mercy. It felt like Miami just weren’t going to score. They had a let off too when AJ Paterson powered a header onto the crossbar not long after.
We are only 6 games in to our journey together and we are always impatient for success but there is no shortcut to being able to play this type of football. It takes time but when it comes together it is beautiful to watch. We took a massive step forward as a club last night. pic.twitter.com/CPyelqbfz2
— Paul Dalglish (@DalglishPaul) September 6, 2020
With five minutes remaining Miami were level. Miguel Gonzalez’s name will go on the scoresheet but credit for the goal lies with Mo Thiaw and Tomi Granitto. Thiaw took possession calmly in the area and fed it back to Granitto. The El Salvadorean unleashed a trademark piledriver which ricocheted off Gonzalez into the back of the net.
An ill-tempered finish to the game marred an otherwise splendid night of entertainment. A draw was probably fair on both sides. Miami might have hoped for more but the creditable overall performance will give the players, staff and fans a little spring in their step over the remainder of the long weekend. Especially as it came against a very good Battery side.
FC travel to ATLUTD2 on Saturday 12th September. Kick off 7:30pm ET on ESPN+.