Williams Double earns Battery a point against Ottawa

The Charleston Battery shared the spoils in a hard-fought matchup with the Ottawa Fury Saturday night.

The Fury took the lead twice, once from a free kick and again in the second half, but Romario Williams was there to cancel them out twice, scoring his fifth and sixth goals on the campaign respectfully, which drew him level with Djiby Fall of FC Cincinnati for the league lead in goals scored.

The Battery entered the evening at the top of the eastern conference, following two important wins over Rochester and Tampa Bay, and looked to continue momentum as the first full month of the season concluded.

The opponents came into the evening second from bottom in the table, but with the amount of experience they had at their disposal, they’re a threat regardless of league position, and so the Black and Yellow would have to be on their toes.

The first shot in earnest came from eventual goalscorer Williamson 12′, after the Battery endured somewhat of a shaky start, unable to control and keep possession in the early goings, though the young striker’s effort was saved.

Obi Woodbine’s long throw into the box two minutes later bounced before finding the chest of Forrest Lasso, though his attempt at a bicycle kick on the volley was less than stellar as he didn’t connect properly.

On 15′, A Lasso header connected with Williams, whose ball to Guerra nearly slipped the midfielder in on goal, but the pass was overhit just slightly, giving Ottawa the chance to collect and clear.

Shortly after, the Battery were awarded a free kick in a dangerous position, but it was initially cleared before Maikel Chang‘s ball back into the mixer had Tah Brian Anunga taking his own crack at a bicycle kick attempt, and while he connected, the ball went over the bar as he caught a little too much of it, the exact opposite of Lasso’s previous attempt.

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But on 20′, an Ottawa Free Kick was cleared for a corner to the visitors, which was also dealt with, before the referee gave a free kick as Anunga was adjudged to have fouled his man as he tried to lead the counter, giving Ottawa a free kick roughly 25 yards from goal.

It was Ryan Williams who stepped up, and the effort beat Odisnel Cooper at his near post as it whipped past the wall, giving the visitors the 1-0 lead.

It was a little harsh, given that the Battery were creating chances of their own before the goal, and while the referee maybe could’ve been better placed for the award of the free kick, the set piece was indeed taken well. The Battery would have to find it within themselves not to let the heads drop and get back into the game.

On 36′, the Battery, ever dangerous from corners, had one played in on the right, but it was easily cleared by the Fury, but signs were showing that the Black and Yellow weren’t ready to give up on the game just yet.

And they would find a lifeline just before halftime. With four minutes of the first half to go, Maikel Chang would play a ball into Williams. The center forward still had work to do, though, and would force some space between him and the defender enough to turn on the ball using some great strength, before shooting from close range and levelling the scoring.

The scoreline, to that point, seemed fair. Both sides were creating half-chances, Ottawa’s game plan to pull the center backs out of position creating a little bit of space in behind was working, for the most part, though they were struggling to find the final ball. The Battery were relying on interplay of their front four, something that they’d been doing all year to great effect so far, but they were having to resort to a game of patience, and though frustrating at times, had finally paid dividends in the form of an equalizer.

And on the stroke of half time, the home side could’ve taken the lead. Another Obi Woodbine throw in bounced in front of the ‘keeper and created chaos, but while a Battery player could control, the ball ended up behind the goal and a goal kick was given.

The half time break came and went, as an already interesting game would get even better in the second half.

Three minutes into the second half, Ottawa ‘keeper Callum Irving would come and collect a corner, but would shank his clearance. The ball would eventually fall to Maikel Chang, who played Williams, as he was just about level with the penalty spot. Surrounded by his own group of defenders, the striker would turn, but he would struggle to get an effort on goal and the ball would be cleared.

On 51′, Forrest Lasso played himself into trouble by taking a touch too many and giving the ball away, and the counter would eventually lead to Cooper making a good save to keep his team from going behind again.

But five minutes later, that would change. The Fury would earn a corner on the left, and Ryan Williams, already with a goal to his name, would lay it up to Ramon Martin Del Campo, who would power a header past Cooper at the near post.

And on 59’, Cooper would be called into action once again, having to keep out another well-taken free kick from the visitors, as it looked that if anyone was to score next, it would be Ottawa, having created the better chances since their second goal.

Soon enough, the changes would come for the Black and Yellow. With 20 minutes left, Dante Marini and Heviel Cordoves would enter the game for Kotaro Higashi and Tah Brian Anunga respectively.

With just over a quarter of an hour left, Chang would play Romario Williams through, who used his pace to get past his defender. He would attempt a deft chip of the ‘keeper, but didn’t quite catch it, and the effort would go wide.

Time began to run out for the home side, but with six minutes left, a lifeline came again. Substitute Heviel Cordoves would play the overlapping Maikel Chang with a deft little touch that set the winger away. He would find himself level with the 18 yard box, and would play a great ball to Williams in the middle, just forming it around the defender, giving his teammate nothing else to do but tap the ball past the ‘keeper. It wasn’t without a little bit of hesitation as the shot lacked a bit of power, but still squirmed its way into the net as the Battery were level again.

With three minutes of injury time left to go, Skylar Thomas would replace Obi Woodbine, perhaps with the purpose of causing problems if they found themselves with a free kick in the dying moments.

And a free kick would materialize with a minute left, and though all the big bodies would come forward for the home side, the ball would be cleared.

And so, the game would finish all square. The Battery remain top of the east, with the same number of wins as 2nd place Tampa Bay (The first tie-breaker in USL) but with a better goal difference. The Rowdies with a +4 GD, while the Battery are +8. The Battery also have a game in hand over Tampa, who’ve played seven including tonight, while the Battery have played six.

The Battery next face Bethlehem Steel at home on May 6th. Kick off is at 7PM, and for those unable to attend, you can watch the match on MyTV Charleston, or stream it on the club’s Website.

TOP IMAGE: MAIKEL CHANG NOTCHED TWO ASSISTS TONIGHT AS HE CONTINUES A RICH VEIN OF FORM. ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTO

 

 

Late drama as Tah lifts Battery to three points in Tampa

Tah Brian Anunga’s 85th minute winner was the difference as the Charleston Battery prevailed over the Tampa Bay Rowdies Saturday.

Joe Cole would open the scoring just after half an hour before Forrest Lasso‘s glancing header leveled again only five minutes later before Maikel Chang hit a screamer into the bottom corner on the stroke of half time as the Battery went in at the break up 2-1.

Georgi Hristov pulled the Rowdies level on the hour mark as Odisnel Cooper couldn’t hang onto the ball, which gave the striker an easy finish despite the best efforts of Obi Woodbine on the line. The home side would up the ante with a good spell before the Battery would settle again, and made late pressure tell as Tah Brian Anunga controlled a ball that had pinged in and around the box and placed a shot into the bottom corner, giving the Black and Yellow a hard fought win.

Odisnel Cooper was first called into action on seven minutes, producing some acrobatics to keep a deflected Darwin Jones shot from creeping in under the bar, and then doing even better to collect the corner he conceded with the save.

Defender Taylor Mueller would be forced into action after 11 minutes as the home side continued their decent start to the match. The defender would have to redirect a cross behind, which Cooper would again collect.

Romario Williams would then ask questions of the Rowdies ‘keeper down at the other end after 13’, as he came off a career night last week against Rochester. A shot from the left after he won the ball in a dangerous position would fly just over the top of the bar.

A minute later, Kotaro Higashi, who made his second start in as many games, would find space for the cross on the left, but his wafted ball in would go behind for a goal kick.

On 16′ it would be eventual goalscorer Hristov who would power toward goal and fire an effort on target, but Cooper would get behind it to make the save.

Not too long after, a Rowdies free kick would be cleared by the Battery, but only for a throw-in, which would cause chaos in the Battery box and eventually lead to a dangerous effort from Hristov again, who took two touches to settle and somehow got a shot on target which the beaten Odisnel Cooper was very lucky to see hit his crossbar and eventually be cleared.

On 22′, a Rowdies free kick left them in a bit of bother as Maikel Chang would lead a counter attack from the clearance, but the winger had little support and the chance would fizzle out.

Four minutes later, the Battery would earn themselves a dangerous free kick which Justin Portillo would put into the wall as it went behind for a corner. The ball into the box was cleared, but would fall to full back Obi Woodbine who had a shot from distance. On the replay, it looked to be going wide, though the goalkeeper was taking no chances and would poke it behind for a corner that would lead to nothing.

After 28′, it was Williams for the Battery with a great chance for the visitors as he would connect with a great Quinton Griffith cross, but as the Tampa defense were calling for the offside flag to go up, Williams’ header would go hopelessly over the bar.

And the visitors would rue the missed opportunity. A Rowdies corner would be cleared and arrowed back in before taking a deflection off of Joe Cole that took Odisnel Cooper a little bit by surprise as the redirection would make the ball bobble before meeting Cooper, and it would be that bobble that would be the difference as the goalkeeper would be unable to hold on to the ball, giving Cole, who kept his position, the easy tap in to give the home side the lead.

There was a little hint of a possible offside because of the Cole redirection, though the flag would stay down, and the goal would stand.

But it would only last five minutes, as from just about the next attack, the Battery would draw level.

The Black and Yellow would surge forward and earn themselves a free kick on the left edge of the box. Portillo again would find himself at the controls in a very dangerous area, and put in a delicious looking in-swinger toward Forrest Lasso, and the tall defender would get himself up and just get a glance on the ball to redirect it toward goal. The ball would bounce and find its way past the ‘leeper, and the Battery found themselves all square again.

And it would continue to get better for the visitors. Maikel Chang would receive the ball on the right and pick his head up, winding up his signature left foot for a laser beam of an effort that found its way past the goalkeeper and into the back of the net as it gave him no chance, but gave the Battery the 2-1 lead with just about the last kick of the half.

The goal was Chang’s second in two games, after being kept off the scoresheet in the previous three league games, and a great way to end the half for the visitors.

Chang would create the first real chance of the second half as well, somehow wiggling his way past three defenders before laying off for Williams, who had a little shimmy of his own to get away from a defender and get an effort on goal, but the shot would lack power as the goalkeeper would save easily.

Williams would then hold the ball up and turn on the afterburners to get away from a marker in midfield as he looked to be through on goal, but a defender would come across on the overlap to sweep up pressure.

Just after the hour mark on 62’, the Rowdies would earn a free kick that was played toward the back post. The ball would look easy to collect for Cooper, but his punch out with players around him would be lacking in length, falling instead to Georgi Hristov on the doorstep, who would put the ball away to level once again.

And so, the score was 2-2, but the way the game had gone, you wouldn’t bet against another as both teams were creating their chances.

And the Battery could’ve gone in front again only two minutes later. Attaula Guerra, who continued his decent run of form tonight, would find himself through on goal, but the effort would go harmlessly into the ‘keeper’s arms.

Guerra would then find himself with the ball at his feet on the wing on 67’, holding the ball up before playing the ball around his defender and into the path of Romario Williams, but the ‘keeper would close down an already tight angle and make the save.

Williams would then be replaced by Heviel Cordoves with just over 20 minutes left. Despite being kept off the scoresheet, Williams had a decent night. His hold up play was decent and he created a few opportunities for himself, though he’ll be unhappy that he didn’t put that header on target in the first half, and having gone into the book early on, the substitution was probably the right move.

Kotaro Higashi would be the second man substituted on 73′, as Dante Marini would enter the fray. Marini had started the Battery’s first three games, before Higashi would start last week, and impress his manager enough to keep his place for this match. He wasn’t as impressive as against the Rhinos, but put in a decent shift in what was only his third game of the season.

And Marini was involved almost straight from the off, as a searching through ball by Guerra almost found the late run of the winger with 15 minutes to go, but the goalkeeper would collect and smother the ball before Marini could pounce.

Joe Cole would have a pop at goal on 77′, which went straight to Cooper before having to be replaced due to an apparent hip injury.

The Rowdies had a corner on 79′ that looked dangerous, but the in-swinging ball was collected by Cooper, who rose above everyone in the box and commanded his area well.

The game wound into the last ten minutes with both teams looking to create as the game became stretched, but with just two minutes of normal time left, the Battery would earn a corner.

The first ball would be cleared for a throw-in, and the ball would bounce around the box before a missed clearance by Luke Boden would fall to the feet of Tah Brian Anunga. The midfielder would take a touch before placing the effort in the bottom corner, giving the Battery a late lead in what was a very entertaining game.

In stoppage time, it was last chance saloon for the Rowdies, who pushed everyone up for a last gasp free kick, which was smuggled clear before they earned a corner with what would prove to be the last attack of the night. The Battery would smuggle clear, and the final whistle would blow, giving the Battery a hard earned three points.

The Battery would certainly say they earned it, after a game with so many twists and turns, remaining perfect on their travels to go along with the three points gained in Charlotte in the second week of the season. The win also puts them top of the Eastern Conference, with 12 points from five games, losing one, but having won the other four.

The Black and Yellow return home next, with Ottawa Fury the opponent on Saturday, April 29. Kick off is scheduled for 7PM, and you can watch on MyTV Charleston or the club’s Website.

TOP IMAGE: MATCH-WINNER TAH BRIAN ANUNGA FIGHTS FOR A BALL EARLY AGAINST THE ROWDIES. TAMPA BAY ROWDIES PHOTO

 

Williams Leads the Way as Five Star Battery Thump Rochester

Romario Williams was the talk of the town Saturday night as his hat trick and assist led the Charleston Battery to an emphatic 5-0 win over the Rochester Rhinos.

Three goals in 12 minutes for the center forward had the Battery comfortably in front inside the first half an hour, before Williams and Attaula Guerra would expertly combine to send the Battery into half time 4-0 up. Odisnel Cooper would have to make some good saves on the other side of the interval before Maikel Chang‘s first goal of the season would serve as the icing on the cake with just under ten minutes to go, giving the Black and Yellow their first win over the Rhinos in three years in great fashion.

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There were four changes to Mike Anhaeuser‘s lineup tonight. Kotaro Higashi and Tah Brian Anunga would make their full debuts for the Battery, while Obi Woodbine returned from suspension and Odisnel Cooper was in goal ahead of Alex Tambakis as he and Mikey Ambrose would suit up for Atlanta United against Montreal in MLS.

The Battery came out with a plan to press high up the pitch, as getting the first goal would be vital if the Battery were going to get anything from the game, given the Rhinos’ tendency to rely on their usually stout defense if they found themselves in front. The tactic worked just as they planned it, and they gave the returning Obi Woodbine a chance to launch a ball into the box off a throw in toward Forrest Lasso, whose snap header went just wide in the third minute.

Just before 10′, Romario Williams almost intercepted a soft header back to the goalkeeper, who would just reach for the ball seconds before the ball’s bounce could leave the striker in on goal.

The home fans were up in arms seconds later, as Attaulla Guerra would connect with Williams on the through ball, leaving the striker one on one with the goalkeeper, and he tried to ’round him before the forward would go down under apparent contact. The referee wasn’t impressed however, and gave a goal kick.

But Williams would by no means be disgruntled, as five minutes later, he would get the ball on the edge of the box and use his strength to muscle his way past three defenders before poking the ball into the back of the net.

It was Williams’ second goal of the year after his strike against Charlotte on the way to a 2-0 win in the season’s first Southern Derby, and given the previous result, the hope was that tonight would be the same.

And to that end, he wasn’t done. It was Superhero night at MUSC Health Stadium, and on 25 minutes, Williams would channel The Flash as he would win a footrace with a defender that left him one on one with the goalkeeper, and Williams would calmly slot the ball into the bottom corner to double the Battery’s advantage.

Two minutes later, it was three. Obi Woodbine would cap his return from suspension with an assist as his throw in high up the pitch would look for Williams in the box. The throw would make a defender bite and the unsuccessful clearance would only leave the striker wide open. He would take a touch and slot ball home into the opposite corner, giving Williams the hat trick, and the Battery a 3-0 lead.

And yet, somehow, they still weren’t done. This time, Williams would play provider, controlling the ball on the right wing before cutting in and playing Attaula Guerra. The two would play a couple of give and go’s before Guerra found himself on the edge of the box with his back to goal. He wasn’t to be denied though, using his strength to stand his man up before creating space to turn and shoot toward the opposite corner, with the ball dinking off the inside of the post and finding its way into the net.

The goal was the Battery’s fourth on the night, and Guerra’s second in three games. He seems to be thriving in a more advanced role, playing just off the Striker, with Williams and Guerra building a pretty successful partnership, combining this season for a total of six goals so far, which is a welcome statistic, given that the team were reliant on the midfield pair of Justin Portillo and Maikel Chang for the creative spark for much of the previous campaign.

However, the Battery couldn’t rest on their laurels just yet, as right before half time, an over-hit cross was headed back toward Cooper in the Battery goal, but the ball took a dangerous bounce and left the shot-stopper in a bit of bother with a Rochester forward racing in, though he would meet the ball half-way and turn his back, retrieving it safely.

And so, the Battery went in at half-time well on top, in stark contrast to last week, when they didn’t take the chances they created, which came back to haunt them in the end.

Just after the second half began, Williams could’ve easily had a fourth. He latched onto a well placed long ball, and as the goalkeeper came out to try to claim, the hat trick hero’s attempt to lift the ball over his head was successful, but would fall into the side netting for a goal kick.

Down at the other end after 48′, Odisnel Cooper was forced into his first real save of the evening as Forrest Lasso was beaten to a ball which left Cooper one on one, but the goalkeeper would save at the near post and then proceed to clear his own rebound into the stands. You could say it’s much easier to take chances such as leaving your goal unattended when you’re up four goals, but when you do, you have to be commanding, and he was in this instance as the ball went out for a throw in.

Maikel Chang was still on the hunt for his first goal of the campaign, and would nearly find it a couple minutes later. Some great build up play led to a dangerous position on the edge of the box. Chang found himself as the extra man, and tried to curl an effort past the goalkeeper into the opposite corner, but the effort was saved.

On 53′, Cooper was forced into another good save, steering a shot wide of his left post before the ensuing corner was cleared.

Justin Portillo would put a shot wide left after finding himself on the edge of the box, though unable to find his way through the backline.

The 61st minute saw the end of the night for Obi Woodbine, who after three games out, deserved a rest after a good night’s work. He was replaced by Skylar Thomas, another debutant, picked up from Toronto FC II in the offseason.

Maikel Chang would again be involved on 68′, when his ball toward Kotaro Higashi was taken down well, but the bounce of the ball after a good first touch left too much for the midfielder to do as it would roll to the ‘keeper.

With 15 minutes to go, Chang would maneuver through three defenders, but unlike Williams before him, he couldn’t convert the chance as the ball bounced up on him just before he took a shot and it went high.

Romario Williams would exit the game shortly after, his hat trick and assist in the first half more than enough to warrant the standing ovation he got from the Battery faithful. His hat trick taking his goal tally for the season up to four, already nearly half the ten in all competitions last year. Coming on as his replacement was Heviel Cordoves, who would make a mark on proceedings himself as the game went on.

A great cross by Quinton Griffith found Higashi in the box, but the winger, easily the shortest man on the pitch, couldn’t quite direct his header on frame as it went wide.

Justin Portillo would try and redirect another tasty looking ball on target after 78′, but the effort went high and nearly hit the scoreboard behind the goal.

But the Battery still weren’t finished, and Maikel Chang was not to be denied. With nine minutes of normal time left, a pass by the substitute, Thomas was flicked on at the near post by Cordoves, and the ball found Chang on the right side of the box, just behind the penalty area. The playmaker took a touch to settle himself before calmly dispatching the ball into the net, reminiscent of his earlier shot, but with better results, to make it 5-0.

The goal was Chang’s first of the regular season, having scored only one goal in the pre-season in the first scrimmage against the College of Charleston, and so surely would’ve lifted a bit of weight off his shoulders for a player who’s normally involved in goals, whether scoring or providing, on a weekly basis. His game was much improved tonight, however, and now he had a goal to show for it.

With five minutes left, Ricky Garbanzo would replace Attaula Guerra, who earned his own high praise after a solid performance.

And that’s how the game ended, with the Battery running out emphatic 5-0 winners, earning their first win against Rochester since 2014. Romario Williams took home the match ball after a standout performance, with his hat trick and assist for the fourth a big reason for the win.

The Battery next travel to Florida to play the Tampa Bay Rowdies on April 22nd. Tampa have started well since arriving in the league following a mass migration from the NASL, and will be formidable opponents for the Black and Yellow. Kick off is at 7PM, and you’ll be able to watch the match on MyTV Charleston, or stream it on the club’s website

TOP IMAGE: ROMARIO WILLIAMS CELEBRATES ONE OF HIS THREE GOALS ON THE EVENING. HE WOULD TACK ON AN ASSIST LATER TO CAP OFF AN INCREDIBLE PERFORMANCE, NOT JUST INDIVIDUALLY, BUT FROM THE TEAM AS A WHOLE.

PHOTOS CREDIT ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY

 

 

 

 

 

Battery to be broadcast on Jamaican TV station TV7

The Charleston Battery continue to further their global reach, with Jamaican TV station TV7 acquiring rights to broadcast the team’s games in the country.

The news comes as little surprise, as the Battery have had a string of players come from the Caribbean nation, with Jamaican internationals Obi Woodbine and Romario Williams currently plying their trade for the Black and Yellow, and the likes of Omar Daley and most notably Dane Kelly being part of Battery teams of yesteryear.

Battery games have already been broadcast this year and will continue for at least the rest of the 2017 season, with the current crop of Raggae Boys understandably being a major focus.

TOP IMAGE: OBI WOODBINE GOES INTO A CHALLENGE IN THE BATTERY’S FRIENDLY WITH RANGERS LAST YEAR. WOODBINE IS CLOSING IN ON 100 APPEARANCES IN TWO STINTS WITH THE BATTERY, HAVING WON THE USL2 CHAMPIONSHIP IN 2010

Open Cup draw sets Battery up with possible classic USL showdown

The draw for the first round of the US Open Cup has been made, giving the Charleston Battery an idea of who they may face when they enter the competition in the second round.

 

The first round draw pits the Atlanta Silverbacks of the NPSL against the SC United Bantams of the PDL, with both teams vying for a chance to take on the Black and Yellow in the second round.

The Battery have history with both sides. The Silverbacks and Battery were both in the same league from 1997 until 2009 when the Silverbacks would eventually join the NASL in what grew to become a rivalry between the two clubs. The two teams were part of the initial group of teams who competed for the Southern Derby, with the Silverbacks winning the fan-run competition on three occasions by themselves and once as co-champions in 2005. After joining the NASL after a two-year hiatus in 2011, they would join the NPSL in 2016, and were eliminated from the Open Cup in the first round.

USOC

The SC United Bantams have had a bit of a partnership with the Battery since their establishment in 2011, with many players going back and forth between the two sides, perhaps most notably Austin Savage, who played for the Bantams in between two stints for the Battery and is now plying his trade with Lowcountry United. This would be the first competitive meeting between the two teams, who have been known to meet in pre-season.

As the above photo shows, if the Silverbacks win, they’ll host the match in an early kick off on May 17th in Atlanta, with the Battery hosting in a 7PM kick off at MUSC Health Stadium if the Bantams prevail.

Whatever the case, the draw sets up a mouthwatering scenario for the Battery. A chance to renew an old rivalry may await, or friends may become foes dependent on the result.

The Silverbacks and Bantams face off on May 10th at 5PM, with second round matches being played a week later.

Late Hertzog goal steals points as Battery fall to Riverhounds

The Pittsburgh Riverhounds took all three points away against the Charleston Battery after Corey Hertzog’s late header stunned the home side, handing them their first loss of the season.

The match started wonderfully for the hosts. Attaula Guerra opened the scoring early as he squeezed a shot from just outside the box past the ‘keeper at the near post. That got the tails up for the Black and Yellow, but they couldn’t take their chances, and let the opposition come into it, forcing Alex Tambakis to make some great saves before the dam finally broke and they conceded half way through the second half. Roles were reversed by time Corey Hertzog got his head to the winner late on, but a touch and go offside decision from the referee cancelled out a late equalizer, meaning the Riverhounds took all three points.

The Black and Yellow were in front from just about their first real attack, as on 8′, Dante Marini’s short pass found Attaula Guerra in space, and Guerra, who’s played in a much more advanced role so far this season and been much improved for it, took a touch to control before looking up and having a crack at goal. The ball somehow found its way past the Riverhounds goalkeeper and into the back of the net. The ‘keeper looked unsighted by the effort, initially going to his right before trying to scramble back to his left, which left him a flat footed mess as Guerra got his name on the scoresheet for the first time this season, in stark contrast to last campaign, where he had to wait for his first goal until late in the season in a mid-season friendly with Rangers, before tallying one goal in the league later on.

After 16′, Forrest Lasso got his head to a free kick that was played in deep, but he was adjudged to be offside.

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A minute later, a Battery free kick looked dangerous before being headed behind for a corner, which was taken short, crossed by Marini and cleared off the line before it could be turned in on the doorstep.

The Battery were creating chances, mostly from set pieces, but with the likes of Justin Portillo and Maikel Chang at the controls, and with the aerial threats that they possess, it was to be expected.

With just over half an hour gone, a Battery counter led to a shot by Chang which was deflected behind, leading to a succession of them, but the ball was eventually headed over the bar.

Six minutes later, on 37′ the visitors were given a free kick which was cleared. They recycled the chance after winning possession again back around to the opposite side of the pitch and looked about ready to threaten before the offside flag went up.

Just before half time, Guerra would continue his solid first half display playing a great ball to Romario Williams, which the striker took wide in an effort to beat his man and cut inside. When that avenue was cut off for him by stout defending, he played the smart, dangerous ball across the face of goal, but had no support as Pittsburgh would counter and go down the other end, eventually creating a 1 on 1 with Tambakis in goal and forcing a great save to tip it around the post, and the ensuing corner was also well collected as half time descended upon the teams.

All in all, it was a good opening first half for the Black and Yellow, yet couldn’t be called stellar. They would need to keep continuing to create, and take at least one chance to try and put the game to bed. The longer the scoreline stayed the same, the longer Pittsburgh would know the had a chance.

And Corey Hertzog created the first chance of the second half after some good buildup play for the visitors, but his shot went wide as the slender lead stayed intact.

On 51′, Romario Williams took a ball out of the air, turned, and played a one-two with Guerra before his shot, which forced a save from the Pittsburgh ‘keeper, lacked power and the chance had gone.

Four minutes later, Taylor Mueller was the last line of defense as Pittsburgh got a man free before the Battery captain’s last ditch tackle forced the interception and the ball was eventually cleared.

But then, just before the hour mark, Marshall Hollinsworth would find his way through the defense and in another 1 on 1 with the ‘keeper before slotting home and levelling for the visitors. The goal had been coming, and was a consequence of the Battery not taking their chances, for which they only had themselves to blame.

But the Battery could’ve been in front again shortly after. Justin Portillo seemed to have pushed himself up into an attacking position more and more as the home side looked to retake the lead. He found himself with the ball at his feet on the edge of the box before shimmying himself some room for a shot on his left foot toward the opposite corner that the midfielder just looped over the bar.

Maikel Chang took a little bit more initiative as well as he created his own chance on 71′, when he cut in on his left before having his own shot at goal. But like Williams’ effort before him, the shot lacked power, and while looked destined to be going into the opposite corner, was an easy save for the ‘keeper.

A minute later, a Battery free kick would find the ball pinging around the box, but nobody was able to put the ball on frame and the ball was cleared.

With 74 minutes played came perhaps the most guilt-edged chance to put the home side back in front, as an overlapping Quinton Griffith’s cross toward the back stick was laid up for an onrushing Heviel Cordoves, who had replaced Williams just a few minutes earlier, but somehow, the free header went narrowly wide at the far post as the striker tried to simply nod the ball on target. One would think that if the striker had come at the ball more and powered his head through the effort instead of just simply trying to redirect the ball on, the chance may have been taken, but we remained level.

And with nine minutes to go, a Battery corner that looked initially as if it were too flat appeared to strike the hand of a defending Riverhounds player, but the ref wasn’t phased by appeals and instead gave a free kick to the visitors for an apparent push.

Three minutes of stoppage time were given, and by this time, the game was much more open than anyone would’ve liked. Both teams were going forward and looking dangerous, but this time it would be the Riverhounds finding the defining chance. A ball found its way down the wing, leading to a cross into the box for an unmarked Corey Hertzog, who got himself to the ball and stuck it into the back of the net. It was a bit difficult on Tambakis in goal, who had made some real quality saves in the first half to keep his side in front, only to watch helplessly as they would ultimately be in vain.

Though going behind didn’t exactly dampen the Battery’s spirits. Even with the late goal, they had time, as it had come just as we went into the three minutes added on. A Battery corner in the 93rd minute, right at the death, refused to be cleared and was eventually recycled before Dante Marini got his head to the ball to stick it into the back of the net, but he was adjudged to have been coming back from an offside position, and the goal was ruled out.

On further inspection, you can see just how tight the call was. The replay showed on TV and the video board at the stadium looked to point toward the linesman’s decision being correct, but looking at the replay from another angle, it looked to show Marini just a shade onside before the ball was played back in. Nevertheless, the referee stood by his assistant’s decision, and the offside was given.

The result means the Battery were handed their first loss of the season. They next face the Rochester Rhinos, which will also be their first match as part of the inaugural Old Guard Shield supporters’ trophy on Saturday April 15. Kick off is at 7, and the match will be on MyTV Charleston, or can be streamed at the club’s website.

TOP IMAGE: NAVEAL HACKSHAW WINS A BALL IN THE AIR AS THE FIRST HALF WORE ON. PHOTO CREDIT ROSS ALMERS’ PHOTOGRAPHY.

Battery release official 2017 kits

After initial delays during the preseason, the Charleston Battery have officially unveiled their new kits for the 2017 season.

The team used special 25th anniversary jerseys, which are also part of their Holy City FC range, for both the Carolina Challenge Cup and the start of the new USL campaign.

The new jersey, however, reverts to the Black and Yellow that the club have been wearing for most of their 25 year history beginning in 1997.

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Pictured above, the new jersey, sponsored by Nike, keeps the signature Black and Yellow, but drops the vertical stripes used in previous kits for a horizontal design. The back of the kit is yellow with black letters and numbers while the last kit was black, in a way fading into the kit’s design, and had white numbers. Stream.Live is now the official shirt sponsor, taking over from Sparcet and Teamphoria, who were on the previous kit. The badge is of course adorned with four stars above it, signifying the Battery’s four championships, as we begin the hunt to add another to our collection.

The Battery will continue to wear the Holy City kits, which will serve as Away kits for 2017.

You can purchase the kits at the club’s Pro Shop at MUSC Health Stadium, or online here. The kit is $60 and is available from size Small to XXL.