Battery turned around in Richmond

Despite taking an early lead, the Charleston Battery dropped points Saturday against the Richmond Kickers by a score of 3-1.

The Battery were without the suspended Romario Williams due to yellow card accumulation, but it was his replacement, Heviel Cordoves that put the Black and Yellow in front before a pair of goals from Sunny Jane and Oliver had the home side in front at half time. The Battery then came out in the second half and attacked, with a late push to boot, but Yudai Imura gave the Kickers insurance in stoppage time to condemn the Battery to a loss.

Skylar Thomas was at right back, replacing Quinton Griffith, while Obi Woodbine returned from suspension on the opposite side. Jarad van Schaik would slot in on the left in midfield, whilst Tah Brian Anunga would partner Justin Portillo in the middle. Maikel Chang would round out the midfield on the right, and Attaula Guerra would partner the aforementioned Cordoves up front.

The scoring was opened in as early in the second minute, when Cordoves controlled the ball from a knockdown inside the box, turned, and squeezed the ball into the corner to give the visitors the early lead.

However, Richmond would settle quickly, and got themselves back in the game not long after.

Sunny Jane would put the Kickers on terms again just after 17′, when he volleyed from the edge of the box after the defenders at the edge of the box couldn’t make a challenge to level.

On 23′ came a dangerous pull back on the right from Skylar Thomas to the top of the box that was saved well by the ‘keeper, but the ensuing corner was cleared away and the referee blew up for a foul.

Four minutes later, it was Justin Portillo at the edge of the D who would feed a through ball to Jarad van Schaik, who would sting the ‘keeper’s hands with a save.

On 35’ there was action at the other end as Fernando found his way to the byline, but couldn’t find anyone in the box and it was cleared away.

But just a minute later, the Kickers would be right back down the Battery’s throat. This time, it was the goalscorer, Jane combining with his strike partner, Oliver, who controlled at the top of the box and scored.

So, from up early, the Battery found themselves down. They would have to keep their heads up if they were to get anything from the game, and not let their current woes get the best of them.

And shortly after, the Battery looked promising as a ball was put behind for a corner kick, but it was caught by the ‘keeper, who looked to start a counter before it was cut out near the top of the box.

A Battery corner with two minutes left to go until half time was played in before a free kick was given for a foul on a defender.

And that’s how the half ended. There were noticeable shakes of the head from the Battery players coming off, and while understandable, they would hope that that wouldn’t be the nerves setting in.

And they came out of the blocks in the second half on the attack.

A 49th minute effort from Heviel Cordoves went wide of the far post as the Battery looked to turn the screw, while some good buildup shortly after fell to Obi Woodbine, who seemed to mishit a volleyed attempt on the right side of the box into the side netting.

And than, on 53, came perhaps the visitors’ best chance to equalize. Cordoves would receive an inch perfect through ball that left him 1-on-1 with the goalkeeper, and he tried to guide the ball into the bottom corner only for the ball to hit the post.

Richmond had a free kick on 65′ eventually cleared out for a throw in, which led to nothing as the Battery’s quest for an equalizer wore on.

And Attaula Guerra had another chance on 71′ as he latched onto a great through ball from Maikel Chang, but the ‘keeper was there to deny his attempt low as he got down to it. The ensuing corner led to nothing as time began to run out.

A couple minutes later, the Black and Yellow had a free kick that led to nothing as they looked to have run out of ideas after the couple of flowing moves were thwarted.

The Battery were reduced to a lot of huffing and puffing late on, but no real chances came until the home side would put themselves out of sight late on.

Yudai Imura’s 92nd minute free kick from 25 yards beat Odisnel Cooper at his near post despite the ‘keeper getting a hand to it, having seen it late.

And that was how the game ended. The Battery couldn’t take advantage of the teams above them losing, and couldn’t turn an early lead into points.

Next up for the Black and Yellow are Louisville City away from home on September 2nd at 5PM. You can watch the match on MyTV Charleston, or stream it on the club’s website.

TOP IMAGE:  PICTURED EARLIER THIS YEAR, HEVIEL CORDOVES SCORED HIS 2ND GOAL OF THE SEASON DESPITE LOSING TO LONGTIME RIVALS RICHMOND.

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Resilient Battery take three points from Rochester

The Charleston Battery would leave it late, but an 84th minute free kick would be the difference in a hard fought battle with the Rochester Rhinos on Saturday.

There were changes made from last week’s draw against New York, as Quinton Griffith would return from injury, and Miles Robinson would partner Taylor Meuller as the center backs. while Skylar Thomas would slot in on the left for the suspended Obi Woodbine, and the same could be said for Naveal Hackshaw, who would accompany the goalscorer Justin Portillo in midfield, replacing Tah Brian Anunga, after he had accumulated five yellow cards.

A Rochester free kick in the fifth minute looked to be dangerous, but it was cleared away by the defense as the counter looked to be on, though it would eventually break down.

Some good buildup would find Romario Williams shortly after, whose reverse ball looking for Maikel Chang was just a little too strong and the ‘keeper would claim.

On 15′ Rochester would earn a corner, only to be cleared and come back in. The second clearance fell to the feet of Wal Fall at the edge of the box, but the shot was wide of the target.

On 25’, Darius Madison would shoot toward goal for the hosts, but Odisnel Cooper would save to his left as the shot lacked conviction with the striker going away from goal.

Shortly after, Romario Williams would be booked for the fifth time this season, meaning he would be unavailable for the match next week against Richmond.

On the half hour mark, Cooper would be forced into another save, when a cross from Michael Garzi found Jalen Brown, but his mishit shot was handled by the ‘keeper

Six minutes later came the Battery’s best chance of the first half, when Williams would latch onto a ball and play Kotaro Higashi in the middle. He couldn’t control the pass, which gave the defender time to get set and block the eventual shot. Higashi would pick up the rebound and pass back to Williams, but the control before the pass was given as a handball.

Then, on 38′, a long ball forward would beat Taylor Meuller and give Jalen Brown a chance for the home side, only for Cooper in the Battery goal to be equal to the effort.

On the stroke of half-time, Williams had a great chance to put his side in front when he connected with a cross at the front post, which he couldn’t quite redirect on frame as it went wide.

And that meant the teams would go in at the break deadlocked. The game took a little while to get going, but arguably, neither team may have wanted the interval to come, what with both sides creating chances late on in the half.

On the other side of the break, a Skylar Thomas cross would lead to a corner inside the first five minutes, but nothing would come of it.

Just before the hour mark came the next chance for the Battery, as a quickly taken free kick was played out to Maikel Chang and then into the feet of Romario Williams, who toe-poked the ball toward goal and looked for all the world to have broken the deadlock, only to have it cleared off the line.

On 62′ came a mixup in the box as two defenders for the Battery got succed in, and the ensuing shot was deflected behind for a corner, that was then cleared for a throw.

On 67′, the visitors made their first sub. Jarad van Schaik would replace Kotaro Higashi, who had that great chance in the first half that should’ve been buried, and he would hope his side wouldn’t rue the missed chance.

Rochester looked to pick it up at about the 70th minute mark, as they were still in the game after sitting back for large stretches, creating from corners and looking to put Cooper under pressure, but the defense stood firm.

And then, with six minutes left, came a good chance for the Battery at the other end.

A clumsy foul on the left corner of the box had Justin Portillo at the controls, with the big men coming up from the back. Portillo then used the big bodies as a decoy, playing the ball in low along the floor and past the goalkeeper, who was unsighted by the mass of bodies for the opening goal.

It’s not certain whether Portillo meant for the ball to go straight in or meant for it to take a nick off the attacker from a redirection, but they all count, and the Battery had a lead to defend going into the last five minutes.

It was kitchen sink time for the home side, though, and with four minutes of added on time, the Rhinos had time enough if they could find the good areas. Miles Robinson was in the way to plug up a passing lane before a cross could come in on the stroke of 90′, but the goal kick would go straight back to the home side.

And on 91′, Cooper didn’t claim a cross that he came out for, which gave the home side a great chance through Jalen Brown that looked destined to level it again, only for the captain Taylor Meuller to clear off the line.

The Battery then barely had time to catch their breath before Cooper had to make a reflex save to deny Brown from close range, but he wasn’t able to hold the ball, although Graf put the rebound over the bar.

The last chance came by way of corner in the 94th minute, but the Battery defense stood firm to clear.

And shortly after came the final whistle. The Battery won their first game in their last seven since July 1st, and their first win at Rochester since 2012.

Tbe Battery next face the Richmond Kickers on Saturday, August 26 at 7PM. You can watch it on MyTV Charleston or stream it on the club’s website.

 

TOP IMAGE: ODISNEL COOPER, PICTURED HERE IN A PREVIOUS GAME AGAINST THE RHINOS, MADE A NUMBER OF IMPORTANT SAVES ON THE WAY TO A HARD FOUGHT THREE POINTS. ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTO.

Battery pegged back through late goal against NYRB

The Charleston Battery conceded a late goal that denied them three points on Saturday against the New York Red Bulls II.

Romario Williams’ return to action also saw his regular strike partner Attaula Guerra in the starting XI. While Tah Brian Anunga  would slide into a more defensive position to cover for the injured Quinton Griffith, meaning Naveal Hackshaw would make the start beside Justin Portillo. 

A great run from Obi Woodbine earned his side a corner in as early as the second minute, though it wouldn’t beat the first man and was cleared away from danger by the travelling defense.

New York’s first look at goal looked to be coming in the 13th minute, when an attacker found himself with a slight window to shoot at Odisnel Cooper’s goal, but Woodbine would come across and shut down the man, and the shot went wide.

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On 20′, an unfortunate bounce from a Forrest Lasso challenge spelled trouble again for the home side, bouncing into the box with a man bearing down on goal, but Cooper was there to make himself big and claim at the striker’s feet.

Three minutes later, it was the Battery who were knocking at the door. A long throw had looked to be dealt with before Maikel Chang latched onto the second ball at the top of the box, flicked the ball past a marker and had a pop at goal. It looked to be destined to cause trouble for the goalkeeper at least, before a defender swung his boot at the ball to clear for a corner, though it was wasted.

Cooper was in trouble again on the half hour mark. A through ball would allow for a shot that went just wide of the far post.

Then, five minutes before half time, the Battery were given a free kick on the left edge of the box roughly 20 yards out. Justin Portillo would be the one to take, wafting the ball in toward the center back, Lasso. He’d get up above his man and whip a snap header toward goal, but couldn’t put in on target and it went over the bar.

Obi Woodbine was then booked for a bit of follow through after losing the ball late on in the first half, and would have to watch himself as the game went on.

But then, finally, the breakthrough. An inch perfect ball from Portillo found Attaula Guerra going through on goal, having stayed onside. Guerra then gave the ‘keeper a bit of the eyes before lifting his head up and seeing an onside Romario Williams at the far post, who controlled and slotted the ball home to put his side in front with his 15th goal this season.

That, in essence, is the composure the Battery have lacked in both player’s absence. Guerra being the creative force behind a team that for a long time led the league in goals scored before the recent barren run, and in Williams, a forward with a nose for goal to put them in, showing just how, with one on the field, they’re in good shape, but with both, they’re a force to be reckoned with.

And that’s how the first half ended. The Battery up 1-0, but they were in need of a second to put distance between themselves and a visiting side who were, at the very least, plucky, giving you no sense they were out of the game whatsoever.

On 48’ the Red Bulls ‘keeper would punch a corner clear, only for Maikel Chang to pick up the second ball and fire at goal. A mix up in communication would lead to a sliced clearance behind for a corner, though the ball looked to be going straight to the ‘keeper. The Battery couldn’t capitalize on their stroke of luck though, as the set piece was cleared.

Guerra was then unlucky not to latch onto a through ball that would’ve left him 1 on 1 with the ‘keeper, the pass this time just being a little over hit

With an hour gone, it was nearly disaster for the home side. A short pass was well under hit by Obi Woodbine, which put the defense under pressure as it went straight to a visiting attacker. The defense would scramble, but it would be Forrest Lasso to clear behind for a corner, which was dealt with well and cleared away.

Four minutes later, a corner was given to the Red Bulls, and, though cleared away, a second ball produced what could’ve been a difficult cross had it not been over hit and out for a goal kick.

On 68′, the Red Bulls took another corner, this time played short, and then into the box on the ground, which created a bit of space for the attacker to have a shot that didn’t trouble Odisnel Cooper.

But on 72′, a bit of luck fell the visitors’ way, when a blocked shot fell to the feet of Stefano Benomo, who shot on the half volley across the goalkeeper Odisnel Cooper and gave him no chance as it nestled into the side netting.

You couldn’t really blame the ‘keeper, as a fortunate bounce off a leg created the chance in the first place, but the Battery had had chances to put the game beyond their opponents, and didn’t take them, which allowed the Red Bulls back into the game as it went on.

The Red Bulls forced a corner two minutes later, but nothing would be made of it.

Five minutes from time, the Battery would earn a free kick, and the big bodies would go forward, including Heviel Cordoves, who replaced Kotaro Higashi as the whistle blew for the set piece. However, it would be dealt with by the defense, and time was running out.

On 87′, Obi Woodbine went in for a challenge, and appeared to have gotten the ball, though the referee was coming from behind the play and adjudged the player to have taken the man, and issued Woodbine a second yellow, which meant the Battery would have to play the remaining three minutes, plus stoppage time, down a man.

The ensuing free kick would lead to naught, but eventually recycled and Justin Portillo was called for a handball from a blocked shot, giving the visitors a free kick just outside the box. It would go straight into the wall and back out as a quick pass found Romario Williams ready to lead a break, but the Red Bulls dispossessed him by way of a kick as it broke down. Williams would then have to receive treatment, but was okay to continue.

Deep into stoppage time, the Red Bulls would have the last chance. Both teams were hoofing the ball up the pitch in hopes of a knock down and shot, but it was the visitors who were the ones to threaten. A long ball across to the left was headed down, and the ensuing shot looked to have beaten Cooper, but thankfully for the Black and Yellow, went wide of the far post.

In the end, it may have been a fair result. There was much huffing and puffing from both teams, but not much in the way of creativity barring the Battery’s goal. The Red Bulls were a bit lucky with the bounce of the ball that led to the equalizer, but as the Battery have benefitted from similar situations before, the visitors kept themselves in the game, and it just shows that anything can happen if you do so.

The Battery play their first of three games away from home against Rochester Rhinos on Saturday August 19, with kick off scheduled for 6:05. You can watch on MyTV Charleston or stream at the club’s website.

ROMARIO WILLIAMS, AIDED BY GREAT PASSES FROM BOTH ATTAULLA GUERRA & JUSTIN PORTILLO IN THE BUILDUP, SCORED HIS 15TH GOAL OF THE YEAR. All photos credit Ross Almers Photography

 

 

 

Battery’s failure to convert leads to loss in Toronto

The Charleston Battery can count themselves unlucky Saturday evening, having lost to Toronto FC II. They had the majority of chances in the game, but were unable to put away their opportunities and were made to pay for it, as a goal at the start of the second half for the hosts was what separated the two teams.

Visa problems meant the Battery were without key players Obi Woodbine, Maikel Chang and Romario Williams, while Jeffrey Otoo was also unavailable. This meant there was another reshuffle in the XI for the Black and Yellow. Odisnel Cooper was in goal, with Skylar Thomas replaced Woodbine at left back, with Tah Brian Anunga, Justin Portillo, Naveal Hackshaw and Kotaro Higashi in midfield, Higashi dropping into his more natural wide position to make up for the loss of Chang, and Attaula Guerra would partner Ricky Garbanzo up front, as the striker Williams would again have to wait for his full return from the Gold Cup after having previously come on as a sub in the previous match.

The game took awhile to get going, and it wasn’t until the 25th minute that the Battery had their first chance of the match. A long ball looking for Garbanzo would eventually fall to the feet of Attaula Guerra, who put a curling effort agonizingly wide of the top left corner.

Three minutes later, Naveal Hackshaw would turn a quick 1-2 on the edge of the box before receiving the ball back on the right of the box, but his low ball across was cut out by the goalkeeper.

Skylar Thomas would earn a corner on the half hour mark, but the set piece was quickly cleared.

On 37′, Garbanzo was involved again, this time playing an inch-perfect ball into Naveal Hackshaw, who would control well but shoot straight at the ‘keeper.

After 42’, Odisnel Cooper looked troubled as he was sent sprawling to his left after an attacker would cut in and have a pop at goal. The ball went wide in the end, but clearly, Cooper was taking no chances.

Kotaro Higashi looked to create on the stroke of half time, holding off his marker on the far touchline before getting to the edge of the box and finding Attaula Guerra, but he couldn’t get the ball out of his feet before swinging his foot toward goal after missing the ball completely and having the chance cleared away.

And in stoppage time in the first half, Higashi would create again, this time finding Quinton Griffith on the overlap, who created space for a shot and forced the goalkeeper into a good save at his near post to keep the scores level.

And so, to end the half, the Battery were the more creative of the two sides, though they would have to put away the chances if they were to get anything from the game.

They came out again on the front foot to start the second 45. Ricky Garbanzo latched onto a ball and created some space for himself on 48′, but his shot was wide of the target.

A minute later, Attaula Guerra would shoot from an angle, but his effort would again drift wide.

And then, the Battery would pay for their failure to convert, as a ball from the middle got in behind the defense, and Shaan Hundal would latch on, taking a touch before slotting the ball home past Cooper in goal.

The ball forward was not unlike Garbanzo’s ball to Hackshaw in the first half, but a better finish was applied, and most would say the goal came against the run of play, with the Battery having finished the opening half, and beginning the second half, creating chances for themselves. In this instance, however, they would learn the importance of taking chances

Shortly after, on 58′, Cooper was forced into a save to deny Toronto insurance, after another long ball fell to Hundal, and Cooper saved at his near post.

The game then began to get bogged down in midfield, with the Battery having most of the possession, but very little chances until they would pile on the pressure late.

The Battery would earn a corner with nine minutes left, which was played in at the back post for Garbanzo, whose curling effort toward the far corner was saved expertly by the goalkeeper and out for another corner, only for the same to happen again, Garbanzo making the run at the back stick, but this time the ball was cleared.

In the 93rd minute, Justin Portillo’s semi-desperate shot from distance would bounce towards the ‘keeper as time would look as if it were running out, but they would get one more chance.

A free kick was given just outside the center circle in the Toronto half, and all the big bodies would go forward. The ball was launched in toward the back post and into the melee of rising bodies in what was probably the best dead ball service of the afternoon. In amongst the bodies, the goalkeeper would come out with a fist to punch, but mistime it, and the ball would roll into the net. However, substitute Nico Rittmeyer would be called for a foul, adjudged to have impeded the ‘keeper’s jump as the ‘keeper fell over Rittmeyer on the way down. This was somewhat strange, as both players were going for the ball, and Rittmeyer was dwarfed in the jump by the ‘keeper, who got a fist to the ball, but mistimed it completely. Given that fact, it remained to be seen what exactly the referee saw himself, but the Battery can feel aggrieved to have been on the end of such a bad call.

Nevertheless, the bad call was necessarily the reason they lost the game, having failed to convert so many chances,  but at such a crucial time in the match, it was the difference between one point and none, and even those can be important at the end of the season when all is said and done.

The Battery next return home to face New York Red Bulls II on August 12th. Kick off is at 7PM, and you can watch it on the club’s website, or on MyTV Charleston.

TOP IMAGE: QUINTON GRIFFITH TRACKS DOWN A BALL IN THE PREVIOUS MEETING BETWEEN THESE TWO SIDES THIS SEASON. CREDIT: ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY