BY JOHN ACE
Jose Cuevas returned to the Battery lasr week, and he was the man who got the Battery on the board early by way of a penalty before Richmond equalized courtesy of Jason Yeisley just a few minutes later as both sides eventually went home with a point.
A rearranged fixture from a previously “stormed out” meeting between the sides a few weeks ago, as well as a rematch of this past weekends’ 4-0 drubbing away to the Kickers, the Battery had the better of play early on, with both Dane Kelly and the aforementioned Cuevas finding space and creating half chances, before Cuevas was chopped down in the box after seven minutes, leading to the referee pointing to the spot.
The penalty was converted well by Cuevas to give the Battery an early lead, and they added on a little bit more pressure for good measure.
However, the Kickers grew into the game after a while. They began to settle on the ball, began to find space down the wings, and the Battery were made to pay.
A cross from the right from a Richmond winger went right across the face of goal to find Jason Yeisley at the back post for the equalizer in the 14th minute, just seven minutes after the Battery had gone ahead.
A sub for Richmond was used after 23, when Alex Lee came off with a hamstring problem to be replaced by Hugh Roberts.
Three minutes after the away sub, the Battery had a great chance to put themselves up once again. A great cross from Quinton Griffith from the wing found Dane Kelly open at the back post, but his shot went wide in the end.
The game remained open for much of the play after that, with both teams getting time on the ball, but Richmond were the ones doing things with the possession they had, continuing to get wide and find time on the ball, and at times, bully the home side off it.
After 29 minutes, Odisnel Cooper produced a class save to deny Richmond a go ahead goal, leading to a chant from the E1 Regiment section of Blackbaud of “Super Cooper.”
After 36, Justin Portillo found space for a shot from distance, but Willis in the Richmond goal saved it with no harm done.
After 40 minutes, Quinton Griffith was causing problems again, with an interception and well timed run that led to a shot that fizzed just over the crossbar, but it was worrying enough for the visiting side.
Half time brought a substitution from the Kickers, with Juan Arbelaez coming on for Shay Spitz, which seemed to be a tactical substitution as Spitz had been one of the visitors’ better players in the first half.
Adam Mena and Jose Cuevas showcased a bit of skill to earn a wasted corner on 55, but the game soon began to look like it had another goal in it.
As the Kickers made a pair of subs on the hour mark, so did the home side three minutes, bringing off Jose Cuevas and replacing him with Heviel Cordoves as the Battery sacrificed a midfielder to play with two strikers.
This gave Richmond an extra man in midfield, and they used it to full effect, creating a chance from a header, though it went over the bar.
A bit of panic ensued a minute later after the defense struggled with a deflection, but the ball found Odisnel Cooper safely as the Regiment end began chanting his name again.
The Battery then got a free kick that went just wide of the Richmond goal, though all signs pointed to a fantastic finish.
Jarad Van Schaik was booked after 72 minutes, and came off a minute later to be replaced by Aminu Abdallah as the Battery went full steam ahead with attacking intent.
The game was then in doubt as a block of lights on the opposite side of the stadium went out and play was stopped, the 3rd time this fixture had been halted, but both teams agreed that there was enough light to continue, and play resumed with the light out.
During the delay, two Battery subs were made, Dante Marini and Zach Prince came on for Adam Mena and Dane Kelly. Marini adding pace, while Zach Prince added the extra man in midfield as the home side continued to press.
The earlier prediction about a little drama at the end was correct, as we ventured into added on time, the Battery had a number of chances to put the game away.
First, Marini found Maikel Chang well with a pinpoint cross. which clanged agonizingly off the bar, the rebound, however, fell to Zach Prince inside the six yard box, but was easily collected by the Richmond ‘keeper before he could get a shot away.
And so, despite a tight finish, the match ended with a 1-1 draw. One conclusion that can be drawn from this match is that, just like we thought he would, Jose Cuevas has been a breath of fresh air to the Battery, and can help bring this team together, even if this result wasn’t what the Battery would’ve hoped.
The draw certainly helps Richmond more than the Battery, but they’ll hope to get the right result on Saturday against Arizona United. The match kicks off at 7:30