The North County Battalion came back to earn a 1-1 draw against Riverside Coras. By virtue of the draw the Battalion remained in second place and will now host a home game against Coras in the first round of the playoffs. Neither team has beat the other during the regular season and each team will need to find a win in order to advance out of the first round. In its inaugural season, the Battalion ended with a record of 7-2-3.
The first half was a back and forth game with many chances for both teams. North County controlled possession, however, Coras outshot the men in black 7-2. Neither team was able to capitalize on any of those shots and both teams went to the locker room tied 0-0. That meant that the last 45 minutes would determine who had home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
In the second half, both teams continued searching for the first goal. Coras struck first when Fernando Cabello redirected a shot onto goal that beat Battalion keeper James Stroud. After 56 minutes the Battalion were facing a long trek to Riverside for the first round of the NPSL playoffs.
With 14 minutes left in the game, Eli Galbraith-Knapp came down the left side of the line and was fouled just inside the box. This presented a perfect opportunity for the Battalion to tie the game. Justin Picou calmly lined up for a penalty kick and roofed the ball under the post and knotted the score at one. The penalty kick was a redemption of sorts for Picou, who was whistled for a controversial penalty kick in Riverside the last time these two teams met.
If the score stayed tied the Battalion would clinch the two seed and a home playoff game. The last 14 minutes plus extra time were nervewracking for the home side. Coras sent everybody forward to look for the game-winner and had a perfect chance at the last moment of the game. With time running down Coras sent a pass to the weak side and the ball landed right at the foot of a forward. He blasted a point blank shot towards goal, but Stroud dove and stuffed the shot, essentially ending the game.
With the tie, the Battalion guarantee themselves a home game against the same Riverside Coras. The game is scheduled for July 9th, with a kickoff time of 7:00pm. Get your tickets early and save!