MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis 901 FC were unlucky not to win or earn a draw, but a late goal from Charleston thwarted any chance of gaining more points.
The match began in 901-esque fashion, with former Memphis Tigers standout DeAngelo Williams continuing the ‘smashing of the guitar’ tradition at AutoZone Park.
Memphis benefited from the momentous pre-match festivities and controlled first 25 minutes of the match.
The 901 FC had more than 60 percent possession in the first half and had a passing success rate of 80 percent.
— Caleb Hilliard (@Cbreezy118) April 28, 2019
The Memphis defense pestered the Charleston forwards, forcing the Battery to pass quickly and inefficiently.
Duane Mukette deserves credit for the early chances. The midfielder continually flew down the right flank and played in some dangerous crosses early on.
The first clear-cut chance of the match came at the 15-minute mark. The 901 FC captain, Marc Burch, played in a threatening ball from midfield and Abil Mohamed got on the end of the pass but, headed the cross off of the inside post.
Charleston answered back moments later, when midfielder Vincenzo Candela found some space on top of the box and fired his shot high and wide.
The Battery continued to threaten the 901 FC defense but could not seem to break down Memphis’ midfield thanks to Cameron Lindley.
Lindley intercepted passes played effective ball forward and rarely lost possession throughout the match.
The last chance of the first half might have been the best chance of the match. Burch found space on the right flank and blasted a cross into a waiting Rashawn Dally. The forward rushed his header and the Charleston goalkeeper was able to make an acrobatic save.
The Battery started the second half with more possession but, thanks to the play of 901 FC defenders, Burch and Todd Pratzner. The center-back duo formed an impenetrable wall and the Battery’s forwards had no answer.
With 10 minutes left to play and the match still deadlocked at 0-0 the match slowed down and Charleton seemed content with seeing out the scoreless draw.
Memphis desperate for a win, turned up the pressure with ten minutes remaining.
Around the 80th minute mark, the 901 FC benefitted from back-to-back set pieces and nearly broke through.
Burch curled in a corner and the ball bounced around before Eilliot Collier got his foot onto the bouncing ball. His shot hit the underside of the post and was cleared away.
Heartbreak ensued for the 901 FC players and fans after nearly scoring in the final minutes of the match.
In added time, Charleston won back possession at midfield, following a Memphis corner. They made three well timed passes and Dante Marini scored for the Battery after a scrum in front of the 901 FC net.
Less than a minute later the final whistle sounded and the dismay on the 901 FC players faces was evident.
Memphis outplayed Charleston for 90 minutes but could not finish their chances. The Battery had few chances but scored when it mattered.