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Late goal lifts Charleston Battery over Miami FC 2-1

CBS News Live
CBS News Miami Live

MIAMI — Miami FC gave up its second loss of the season to the Charleston Battery after a late, controversial goal in Miami on Saturday night.

Miami FC pressed high on the visiting Battery from the start of the whistle, but the 2023 USL Championship Finalists avoided the pressure in the early minutes.

"Charleston deserved the win, they played well, they played better, and they won," said coach Antonio Nocerino. "My team tonight did not play good in the first half. The second half was too scary for me, we didn't win the duel, and when you don't win the duel you lose. For me, Charleston deserved the win."

However, Miami would not relent and their early pressure put the home side ahead off a goal by Allen Gavilanes. The forward continued his hot start for his third goal in two matches.

Rocco Genzano continued to impress with his playmaking and sent a great pass through the defenders to a sprinting Gavilanes in the 9th minute. Gavilanes took one touch around the Battery keeper and put the ball in the net to put the hosts up 1-0.

Unfortunately for a young Miami squad, their set-piece defending woes from their draw against Orange County SC revealed itself again in the 10th minute.

"It was a tough game, we knew it would be a good game with Charleston," Gavilanes said. "We know how good the team is, how experienced they are. Obviously, we have a young group, and we're learning game by game."

Charleston then came with a free kick off a foul and quickly played a ball into the box as Miami was still trying to organize itself and Nicholas Markanich put in the header off a free kick in the 10th minute. All of a sudden for Miami, the early momentum subsided without much action for either time until the 32nd minute.

After the two early goals, both teams settled into the play more. The next big chance came for Charleston in the 32nd minute as the Miami defense cleared a dangerous chance by Nathan Dossantos. Miami immediately then got on the break with Alejandro Mitrano, playing a beautiful switch to Gavilanes who tried a long shot with his trusted left foot but the Charleston keeper was up to the challenge with a diving save at his near post.

The next serious test for Miami goalkeeper, Mattia Gagliardi came in the 40th minute as Charleston's Diego Gutierrez put a shot to the near post but Gagliardi made a great save to keep things level.

The drama from the 1st half continued in stoppage time before half as Charleston's corner appeared dangerously headed toward the far post, but Gagliardi made a sprawling save to knock the ball out to send both teams into halftime with a goal each.

The second half seemed to be one where both sides appeared to be heading to share the points as neither side threatened the opponents final third. That assumption changed quickly in the 76th minute.

After maintaining some possession, Miami broke out to the right side as Gavilanes found a sprinting Luisinho on a breakaway. The Brazilian substitute quickly reached the box and fired a shot to the far post, but the shot wasn't on target and left Miami regretting not taking advantage of the chance. That miss would prove costly in the 82nd minute.

As the match reached the 82nd minute, Charleston was the benefactor of a controversial play as Emilio Ycaza for the Battery fired a shot that Gagliardi initially saved. However, Gagliardi was unable to collect the rebound, which fell to Matthew Myers who put the rebound in Miami's goal. While the Miami FC defenders pleaded for the linesman to raise the flag due to Myers appearing to be in an offsides position, no call was made. Charleston would not relinquish their 2-1 lead and left Miami with all three points.

"The team was good, the match was good but we need to be more hungry," Gagliardi said. "When we're countering we're too slow, we need to be more intense. Need more intensity to win the game because all the teams in this league are strong. We are a young team but no excuses."

Miami travels to Connecticut next weekend to face Hartford Athletic on April 6 at 2 p.m. EST before returning home on April 11 to face the Tampa Bay Rowdies at FIU Soccer Stadium.

"It's unfortunate we didn't get the result, but each time I feel like we're getting closer together as a team… We just have to learn from this and focus next week on Hartford," Gavilanes said.  

Tickets for the April 11 match are on sale now at For the full season schedule, go to

CBS News Miami is the official broadcast partner for Miami FC. This story was reprinted with permission from Miami FC.

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