Screamer stuns Battery in loss to Montreal

The Battery were made to pay for a slow start on Wednesday afternoon, as they fell 2-1 away from home against FC Montreal. The hosts went ahead after 14 minutes through Anthony Jackson-Hamel, before Jeremy Ebobisse‘s goal on his full debut five minutes from half time gave the Battery a lifeline. But a late long range effort from Jimmy Shamaar Sanon gave Montreal all three points.

FC Montreal’s first chance came just four minutes in, as Chuarniere got around his man and forced a save from Odisnel Cooper, who tipped the ball out for a corner, which was cleared.

On six minutes, Zach Prince had a shot blocked at the other end, but it was cleared before anyone could follow in.

And then the Battery were behind on 14 minutes. A cross from the right came in for Anthony Jackson-Hamel, and Taylor Meuller overplayed the flight of the ball, giving him space to control and turn, firing past Cooper in goal to make it 1-0. It was a good goal, and probably deserved for Montreal, given the run of play early on, but the Battery would know that the start they made wasn’t good enough.

The Battery would play the ball up to Romario Williams on 20′, and he controlled well, though his shot would go into the side netting.

Montreal were asking questions again on 26′, with a corner taken short that the Battery failed to fully deal with and had to struggle it out for a corner, but that was dealt with and away.

The Battery would have their lifeline late in the first half, when Jeremy Ebobisse latched on to a ball from midfield, took a touch to square up to his defender, then another to create space before curling an effort into the top corner.

The Battery were on level terms headed into the break, knowing that the second half would have to be better at least from a starting point, as they did come into a little later on in the half, but there were definitely improvements needed.

But like the first half, the hosts had the first chance of the second period, countering after winning the ball in midfield. The cross was inch perfect and forced a save out of Odisnel Cooper from a header as the ball seemed destined for goal. The corner, however, was well dealt with.

Maikel Chang’s 49th minute free kick was played into Zach Prince, but he couldn’t control at the back post as the ball went out for a goal kick.

Goalscorer Jeremy Ebobisse had another chance from a Maikel Chang header down after Quinton Griffith‘s cross in, but the shot lacked power and went into the ‘keeper’s arms.

Montreal had a man sent off just before the hour after a challenge on Attullah Guerra in midfield. The challenge was two footed, and Guerra had to jump to avoid it, and the referee blew for a free kick, eventually sending the player off.

Ricky Garbanzo would replace Ebobisse on 60 minutes, coming on for his pace and pressing ability. Ebobisse could be happy with his full debut, scoring to get his team back in the match. He just looked a little tired as he came off, and so perhaps it was a smart move to get some fresh legs on.

Garbanzo would nearly make an instant impact, after Guerra won the ball back and played a 1-2 with the sub, as Garbanzo sped away down the wing, then played a low cross for Williams, who turned and shot, but the effort was high.

With 20 minutes left, a Romario Williams shot which was deflected earned the visitors a corner, which was played in by Maikel Chang. Zach Prince would make a late run onto the inch perfect ball, but he couldn’t direct it on target.

Andrew Carleton would come on shortly afterward, making his first appearance since July, having spent time with the US Youth set up.

Two minutes later, Prince could’ve made amends after Quinton Griffith’s cross fell to Prince, but his shot bounced off the turf and over the bar.

And on 81′ the Battery would pay for not converting their chances, when Jimmy Schamaar Sanon got space on the left and cut in, and wasn’t closed down before unleashing an absolute thunderbolt from all of twenty yards past Odisnel Cooper.

The Battery were up against it then, but on 86′, Ricky Garbanzo got the ball from Andrew Carleton, and had a shot of his own from distance, but the ball went over the bar.

In stoppage time, the Battery could’ve had a penalty as they threw the kitchen sink at Montreal, as a ball popped out toward Heviel Cordoves, and he went down under a challenge, but the referee gave a corner, which was cleared.

And so the Battery fell away from home. It turns out that Montreal have been somewhat of a bogey team for the Battery, their record all time being 3-0-1. The Battery next face the Bethlehem Steel, in a match where they will honor Leukemia and Lymphoma awareness month by wearing special orange and white kits on Saturday, September 10th. Kick off is at 7:30.

TWO PLAYERS BATTLE FOR POSSESSION IN THE LAST MEETING BETWEEN THESE TWO SIDES. ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Battery fail to convert chances in loss to Rochester

It was a match that could’ve easily went the other way, but the Battery just couldn’t take their chances, allowing the Rochester Rhinos to overturn a Justin Portillo penalty in the first half to come back and win.

Rochester had the first sniff of the game, but only turning it into a half chance when an early corner was flicked on at the near post across the face of goal, only to squirm all the way through the box and be cleared away from danger.

The Battery’s first meaningful attack led to a penalty just after a quarter of an hour when Quinton Griffith got a cross into the box which didn’t get into any dangerous areas, but only because his marker handled the ball. The referee took a beat to think about the decision, and then pointed to the spot, and it was Portillo who slotted home coolly from 12 yards.

A Rochester corner in the 19th was cleared out after causing a little bit of trouble, but the away side were threatening to find their way back in to the match the more it wore on.

But things could’ve been different, when Quinton Griffith got himself free again on the flank and picked out Ricky Garbanzo, who tried to aim the header down and make it hard for the ‘keeper, but the effort lacked purchase and went straight into his arms. As such, the Battery knew they should have been two up, and it would come back to haunt them.

Two minutes later, the away side countered and drove through midfield, committing numbers to the attack, when Christian Volesky found himself in the box with the ball at his feet, and he would turn his defender and smash home for the equalizer.

While somewhat unlucky, the Battery needed to be better at converting their chances if they were going to get anything from the game, knowing that Rochester have one of the best defenses in the entire league, winning the championship last year where the backline carried the load.

Though shortly after, Quinton Griffith would continue his good night, cutting in and sending a cutting pass that was dummied and eventually found the other full back Obi Woodbine, who kept his composure when faced by the goalkeeper and stuck the ball home. However, the flag went up for offside, and the goal was ruled out.

And that’s the way the teams went in at the break. 1-1 was probably a fair scoreline, but it could’ve also been said that the Battery were slightly the better team, and just weren’t ruthless enough.

The Battery could’ve had a go-ahead goal almost straight out of the break, when a clearance from a Battery corner fell to the foot of Woodbine, and almost like the goal he scored in Charlotte a few weeks ago, he ripped one from long range. This time though, it cracked the underside of the crossbar and was cleared long.

And just a moment later, the Battery forced another corner, this time from the right, which was played in and flicked on, but just beyond the diving Shawn Ferguson, but the Battery Captain couldn’t make contact as the ball just alluded his outstretched leg.

The next chance came way of Rhinos goalscorer Valesky, who received the ball in the box on 56, and slotted the ball along the ground for what looked to be a certain goal, but somehow Alex Tambakis stayed big and got down to the effort to keep it out.

Valesky would then latch onto a through ball from midfield on the hour mark, leaving him one on one with Tambakis, but the striker would sky his effort.

Then soon after, the Battery had their chance, with Heviel Cordoves getting through on goal himself, but as he looked for an angle to shoot, he gave the ‘keeper too much time to close him down, and he made the striker panic as he shot, which the goalkeeper parried away.

Maikel Chang would find Dante Marini in the box on 72′, but the winger would lean back as he took the effort and push the ball just wide.

And the Battery would pay for not showing their ruthless streak, as on 82′, A ball played around the box would force Tambakis into a great double save, but the ball refused to get clear and fell to a Rochester foot, and somehow, after making that miraculous double save, the ball would somehow find its way under the goalkeeper and into the net, giving Rochester a late lead.

And despite a late push from the Battery, that’s how things would end. The hopes of gaining third place, and more home games in the playoffs, are dwindling for the Battery. Richmond are idle this weekend, and even a point, which would’ve drawn them level in the standings, would’ve been a degree of success for the Black and Yellow, but it was not to be.

The Battery travel to Montreal next for a midweek tie against FC Montreal on Wednesday, September 7th. Please be aware of the early kickoff, which is at 2:00PM.

TOP IMAGE: THE SCOREBOARD SHOWS THE TWO TEAMS BEFORE KICK OFF ON A SATURDAY EVENING OF FRUSTRATION FOR THE BATTERY. ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTO.

Portillo’s Free Kick steals point against Kickers; sends Battery to Playoffs

Justin Portillo’s wonderful free kick gave the Battery an equalizer, thus earning them a point as they drew 1-1 on Wednesday night against the Richmond Kickers.

It was probably a fair result given the physicality of the match, and yellow cards were brandished to both sides over the 90 minutes, with challenges being central to both teams’ goals.

The first half didn’t give us much to talk about, with both sides creating half-chances, but lacking the final ball on a number of occasions. The two defenses were stout, and space was tight in the first 45, the best chance perhaps falling to Richmond after Shawn Ferguson misjudged a low cross after 17′ and fluffed a clearance, which fell to the feet of Jackson Eskay. Eskay expected the ball to be cleared however, and therefore was on the back foot, and did eventually get a weak effort on target, but it was saved by Alex Tambakis.

Romario Williams would get the ball in a dangerous position for the Battery, but just as he was shaping to shoot, he was closed down by William Yomby with a great slide tackle.

Not too long after, Jackson Eskay was through again, and again Tambakis would come to the rescue, this time producing a double save, one which drove the ball away from goal, and another which was tipped around the post. The corner led to nothing, and the teams remained scoreless into half time.

There wasn’t really any cutting edge to either team in the first half. Both sides looked to play the ball around and look for the movement to open up instead of pushing to create, and the 0-0 score as the teams went in was justified.

But it didn’t take long for that to change. Though the man looked to have been fouled, the referee allowed the Kickers to play on, and Richmond’s Fred Owusu Sekyere played a ball through that split the defense and gave striker Anthony Grant an easy finish to open the scoring after 50 minutes.

It had looked like a foul leading up to the goal, but nonetheless the Battery were behind, which quickly got some changes brewing for the away side. Heviel Cordoves was the first to come on for Romario Williams who seemed to cut a distant figure for long stretches as the service up to him wasn’t great. The substitute Cordoves would at the very least give something else for the defenders to think about, as William Yomby was winning the battle with Williams in one on one situations.

But despite going down, the Battery never looked out of it. In the 62nd minute, a Battery corner was headed back across goal, and Dante Marini got on the end of it with a volley that looked to be destined for the back of the net had it not been for William Yomby’s clearance.

Jeffery Otoo came on shortly after, and his impact was soon felt as he would burst toward the box with first meaningful touch, and be knocked off the ball on the edge of the area, setting up a Justin Portillo free kick from 19 yards that dipped and curled into the net, leaving Andrew Dykstra stranded and knotting things up once more.

But with 20 minutes left in the match, Alex Tambakis had to come up big after goalscorer Grant played Yudai Imura through, but Tambakis rose to the occasion as he got his fingertips to the powerful effort and tipped it onto the bar and out for a corner, which led to nothing.

Yudai Imura would again be involved with 8 minutes to go. He latched onto a loose ball on the left and kept it alive by playing it through the six yard area, but the ball went hopelessly through everyone and was cleared away.

It was then the Battery’s turn to make a late push, after  86, there was some good build up play by Maikel Chang  find a pass to Heviel Cordoves, who then played Attaula Guerra, but Guerra mishit the effort, which went wide.

On 89′, a Battery corner was cleared and then put back into the area by Chang with the low cross, but his searching ball was cleared for a corner which was wasted.

There was a scare right at the death for the Black and Yellow, who gave away a corner in added time, though Alex Tambakis would claim, and the referee would blow the final whistle soon after, giving each team a point.

The result means that with five games left, the Battery have clinched a playoff spot. With a win, the Battery could’ve leap frogged Richmond into third, but remain one point behind the Kickers with the draw. Though they will surely be happy with the playoff berth and the point away from home.

The Battery return home next, facing the Rochester Rhinos on September 3rd. Kick Off is at 7:30.

TONIGHT’S GOALSCORER JUSTIN PORTILLO LOOKS ON FOLLOWING A SET PIECE THAT HE PLAYED IN. PHOTO CREDIT ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY