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Louisville City and Charleston share spoils in 1-1 draw

Ilija Ilic’s first USL goal was enough for Louisville City FC to earn a point in their 1-1 draw against the Charleston Battery at MUSC Health Stadium on Saturday.

It was a rematch between the Eastern Conference’s No. 1 and No. 2 after City came back from 2-0 down to earn a 4-4 draw on June 3.

It was a fair result, but City would regret not being able to take more than a point when they certainly had more chances in the game.

City’s most regretted chance was their first, straight from the whistle. George Davis IV found Brian Ownby creeping in behind. Ownby’s touch went past Charleston goalkeeper Odisnel Cooper. He laid off for Kyle Smith, who fired from close range, but the ball incredibly ricocheted off both posts before being cleared.

Just as Charleston did on June 3, they opened the scoring in the 24th minute. The referee pointed to the spot after Kyle Smith pushed Dante Marini from behind in the box. Justin Portillo stepped up and buried his spot kick sending Louisville goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh the other way.

City responded four minutes later via corner. Paolo DelPiccolo’s cross was headed but hit the crossbar. Ilija Ilic was in position to volley it home for his first USL goal this season.

It was a close contest despite Charleston not playing at full strength. USL leading scorer Romario Williams, who wreaked havoc on City’s defense and scored two goals, was on international duty for Panama.

Action for the rest of the half cooled as the temperature took effect and the players looking to pace themselves instead of exhausting themselves early.

Both teams were content with the 1-1 draw and action was limited, and attacked in spurts or on the counter.

Charleston had a chance to take the lead in the 74th minute. After Ranjitsingh had failed to claim a long throw in, he left the goal wide open. Maikel Chang fired, but Sean Reynolds was on the line to clear it away.

City had one last chance to leave Charleston with three points but squandered another opportunity in the 80th minute. A ball between the legs of a Charleston defender put Davis on goal with a 1v1 with the goalkeeper. Davis fired top right but went up and over.

Louisville City returns home on Saturday, July 15, to take on River City rival, FC Cincinnati. Louisville is 0-2-0 in the series this season. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.