BROOKLYN, NY – Jamaican Nicque Daley and Bermudian Zeiko Lewis saw first-half goals go in vain, as Haitian Christiano François and Turks and Caicos international Billy Forbes scored to inspire an incredible second-half fightback and propel Miami FC to a pulsating 3-2 win over Charleston Battery.
Playing at FIU Stadium in the United Soccer League on Sunday, Daley netted in the 11th minute and Lewis on the half-hour mark to hand the visitors a comfortable 2-0 lead.
However, Ariel Martínez pulled one back for the hosts on the stroke of half-time before François leveled in the 61st and Forbes found the winner in the 78th, after entering the contest as a 64th-minute substitute.
“It was a tough game, but we will bounce back. We’ve played a lot of games in a short period of time,” a disappointed Lewis said afterward.
“Two back-to-back turf fields away is tough, but we move on to the next one. We grow and bounce back. [We’re] getting ready to play at home Friday.”
The victory was the fourth in five games for Miami, leaving them third on 26 points and only four off leaders Pittsburgh Riverhounds in the Atlantic Division.
Charleston, meanwhile, remained fifth on 21 points, the defeat halting a three-game winning streak.
They took an early lead when their Trinidadian captain Leland Archer headed a long ball forward. The attempted clearance just outside the 18-yard box by Jamaican Devon Williams broke nicely for Daley, who finished smartly with the outside of his right boot from eight yards.
The goal was Daley’s fifth of the season.
And Lewis doubled the lead in the 31st with his fourth season when he latched onto Daley’s terrific through ball to beat goalkeeper Connor Sparrow.
Martinez started the comeback with his goal seconds before the break, and François grabbed the crucial equalizer on resumption when he was put through by Robert Kcira, split center-backs Archer and Patrick Hogan with a well-timed run before rounding the keeper and slotting home calmly.
Kira was sent off in the 70th for violent conduct, but even with ten men, the hosts still found the winner, Forbes curling a brilliant free-kick over the wall from 20 yards.
Only 24 hours earlier in Charlotte, Jamaican Dane Kelly had scored his seventh goal in nine appearances to help Charlotte Independence trounce Tampa Bay Rowdies 2-0 at home at the American Legion Memorial Stadium.
The 30-year-old netted the first of two second-half goals in the 47th minute with a sublime finish from 15 yards.
Put through by captain Enzo Martinez; he eluded a sliding challenge from center-back Aaron Guillen. He then held off Guillen’s partner Forrest Lasso before sliding the ball past the advancing goalkeeper Evan Louro and in at the far post.
Irvan Parra added the second in the 62nd to help end Charlotte’s five-game winless streak.