Battery keep rolling with win over Charlotte

Wednesday’s re-scheduled Southern Derby clash went the way of the Charleston Battery as a brace from Heviel Cordoves bookended Ricky Garbanzo‘s second of the year to give the Black and Yellow a 3-0 win over the Charlotte Independence.

The game was originally scheduled for the weekend of September 9th, but was postponed due to the impending Hurricane Irma, and so the Battery came in off of an important win over Richmond, looking to build on the three points to strengthen their push for the playoffs.

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An early free kick by Justin Portillo was sent into a dangerous area at the back post, but no one could rise high enough to get any purchase on it and it went out for a goal kick.

But, unlike last game, in which the home side could’ve been two or three up early, they made the most of first half chances, when, after some good build up play on the edge of the box, a sweet bit of passing fell to the feet of Kotaro Higashi, who picked his head up and slotted a pass into Heviel Cordoves, who sent a composed finish far post to open the scoring.

the goal gave Cordoves, who replaced suspended Romario Williams, his third goal of the season after his second secured the three points on Saturday, and gave the Battery something to defend.

The space seemed to open up for the home side as well, as Charlotte would have to come and attack and chase the game. And on 22′, the Battery, and Cordoves, could’ve had a second.

A through ball found the forward streaking away from his man, but he couldn’t get the ball onto his right foot for a shot, and attempt with his left went into the side netting.

On 36′, Skylar Thomas was forced to clear a dangerous ball on the left, which started a counter after the Battery won the second ball. It eventually fell to Attaula Guerra on the left, and his shot near post was saved well by Cody Mizell in the Charlotte goal for a corner, where a foul was given before a chance could be fashioned.

Another chance for Cordoves came on 40′, with Maikel Chang bombing down the right before shifting the ball into the middle at the top of the box. The ball was bobbling as he tried to control, and the shot went wide.

And on the stroke of half time, a cross from the right, where most of Charlotte’s joy in the first half came from, looked a little too close for comfort for the home side, but a late-arriving header from Jamie Siaj hit a mix of his own man and a defender and was claimed by Odisnel Cooper.

And that was how the first half ended, with the Battery having the better chances in the first half, but with Charlotte still in the game, and with the attacking threat they carry, the home side knew they weren’t safe just yet.

On 49′, the Charlotte ‘keeper Mizell was called into action again, when after latching onto a misplayed ball on the right, the goalscorer Cordoves took the opportunity to cut in and have a crack at goal which was met by the man between the sticks.

On 55′, after an initial corner was cleared by the Battery defense, a David Estrada in-swinger from the left went over everyone’s head and seemed to wrong foot Cooper in goal, only for the ball to go wide as the home side breathed a sigh of relief.

Then, on 64′, after having the lion’s share of possession and looking to cause the Battery trouble, the visitors were awarded a penalty kick after Enzo Martinez was brought down by Cooper in the box, though the play was called offside after the attacker didn’t hold his run on the ball through, rendering the ensuing play null and void after the linesman’s flag on the far side went up late.

And then, on 73’, the Battery got some insurance. It was another piece of great build up play, again falling to Higashi, this time on the edge of the box, who stood up his man and found substitute Ricky Garbanzo with another great through ball and Garbanzo found himself in space to fire into the opposite corner.

The pressure was off the home side with the two goal lead, and the second had come at just the right time, as their opponents were just starting to turn the screw.

And then, with ten minutes left, Garbanzo would add an assist to his cameo, playing a great through ball inside a man to Heviel Cordoves, who again composed himself and went far post for his second of the night.

So in the space of a few days, Cordoves had scored more goals than his entire tally for the season up until that point. It just shows what confidence can do for a player, and he was indeed more than happy to be back amongst the goals.

And that was how it ended. After a bit of a smash and grab against Richmond, the Battery would supplement it by an all important win over their Southern Derby rivals.

The Battery next face Orlando City B away from home on Saturday, September 23, with Kick Off at 7:30. You can watch it on MyTV Charleston, or stream it at the club’s website.

TOP IMAGE: HEVIEL CORDOVES CELEBRATES HIS FIRST GOAL OF THE EVENING BY SHOWING OFF SOME DANCING SKILLS WITH TEAMMATE MAIKEL CHANG. PHOTO CREDIT ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY

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Cordoves flick lifts Battery over Richmond

In the Charleston Battery’s first home game in over a month, Heviel Cordoves‘ third goal of the year was what separated the Black and Yellow and the Richmond Kickers.

It was a frustrating night for the home side, who were wearing Orange in support of the Leukemia and Lymphoma society, as Romario Williams was sent off midway through the first half for a kick out at a Richmond defender after creating no less than three chances for his team early on, and so the game became a battle of who would budge first. It wasn’t until second half substitute Cordoves’ 84th minute goal from a Maikel Chang corner that the deadlock was broken, and the defense stood resolute through five minutes of added on time to get a crucial three points in the hunt for a playoff spot.

 

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Both full backs Obi Woodbine and Quinton Griffith were unavailable through injury for the home side, and so Jarad van Schaik and Skylar Thomas would step in respectively in front of Alec Kann in goal, but besides that it was a pretty straightforward lineup. Midfield staples Justin Portillo and Maikel Chang took their places in the side, with the aforementioned Williams and Attaula Guerra up front.

And the Battery would threaten as early as the first minute. An excellent scoop pass from Guerra from deep found Romario Williams in stride, but the ball, always bouncing. couldn’t be properly brought under control, and the power in the eventual shot was lacking and went out for a corner that led to nothing.

A Battery free kick in the seventh minute would be taken from the left in a dangerous area, which was poised for Portillo to have a crack, but his curling effort went straight into the wall.

A couple minutes later, Kotaro Higashi would undercut an errant pass just inside the attacking half, step forward and slip a nice weighted ball outside to Guerra, who had to dig the ball out from behind him just slightly, which meant the shot toward goal would lack power and gave the ‘keeper time to get a tip on it before it was cleared as it was rolling toward an empty net by a Richmond defender.

In the 10th minute, a give and go between strike partners Williams and Guerra left Williams 1-on-1 as he beat a defender for pace, but again, the touch was heavy and the goalkeeper would claim.

And with a quarter of an hour gone, Romario Williams would shoot from distance and have the effort tipped onto the bar only to fall toward Kotaro Higashi, who couldn’t collect himself to get a proper shot off.

Another give and go, this time from the right, on 17′,  led to another shot from distance and another which rattled the ball, and this time Higashi would be ready, heading toward goal, but too close to the goalkeeper.

With 19′ minutes gone, a corner for the Battery was cleared, only for it to fall to Higashi, who would blast it over the bar.

Jarad van Schaik would do some excellent work on the left on 23′, retaining the ball through the challenge of three defenders before Maikel Chang’s shot as the ball popped out to him would go high and wide.

A Richmond free kick had looked to put the Black and Yellow under a bit of bother on 27’, when a wafting ball was forcibly cleared at the back post. The corner, though, would be cleared.

On the half hour mark, Romario Williams would get away from a marker and into open space before looking for Attaula Guerra in front, but there was too much on the pass.

In the 35th, Forrest Lasso would be booked for a seemingly innocuous challenge while trying to win a header in midfield.

And two minutes later, things got worse. Romario Williams would show a little bit of nastiness with a needless kick out at a defender, for which he received his marching orders with a red card.

The red meant that the Battery would play the rest of the match with 10 men, and that the center forward would also miss the crucial match on Wednesday against Charlotte.

On 43′, a Battery free kick would be played into the box for Forrest Lasso, but his header lacked power and was collected by the goalkeeper.

In stoppage time, Alec Kann would be replaced by Odisnel Cooper. The ‘keeper, who was with the Battery during the 2012 run to their fourth league title, was on a temporary loan from Atlanta United, the Battery’s MLS affiliate, and was rehabbing a strained quad injury that’s kept him out for upwards of two months, having gotten hurt just before Atlanta’s game on July 4th. Regardless of the situation, burning a sub on your goalkeeper is not the best course of action, and the Battery would have some serious regrouping to do at half time.

In the 49th, a Battery free kick was cleared as both teams seemed to want to huff and puff, but neither seemed willing to budge just yet.

A corner for Richmond with an hour gone was cleared away before Odisnel Cooper was forced into a save as the ball was reset, and the danger was gone.

Seven minutes later, Richmond were on the counter, which looked dangerous only to lead to a shot over the bar.

With 20 minutes to go, Heviel Cordoves would replace Attaula Guerra, who, without his strike partner in Williams, was becoming increasingly isolated, and with such an important game in midweek, it’s best to have your best players fresh in a sticky situation. He’d clearly gotten more and more tired as the game had gone on, and when you’re isolated as he was, you’re largely ineffective. The Battery would be hoping that at the very least, Cordoves’ ability to hold the ball up under a challenge would lead to some decent chances.

With seven minutes left, a ball across by Richmond was headed away and hoofed clear, and the bounce of the ball led to a 50/50 challenge, which Cordoves won by forcing his man to play the ball out for a corner.

The set piece would be played in by Maikel Chang toward Cordoves at the front post, who flicked it on and past the stranded ‘keeper to put the home side in front.

So now, the Battery had a lead to hold onto. And for the visitors, they had to come out and attack. The deadlock was broken, and the Battery would have to keep composed to get themselves over the line.

And with throwing the kitchen sink, the Kickers nearly found an equalizer with three minutes gone of the allotted five of injury time. A cross from the left had the defense flat footed, but a header toward goal couldn’t be forced on target and the ball went over the bar.

And so, the Battery picked up a vital three points in what could be the start of a very important week coming toward the end of the season.

The Battery next face an extremely tough test against second placed Charlotte Independence, in a match that was rearranged due to Hurricane Irma on Wednesday, September 20. Kick off is at 7PM, and you can watch it on MyTV Charleston or stream it on the club’s website.

TOP IMAGE: DESPITE BEING BEATEN, RICHMOND’S GOALKEEPER KEPT HIS TEAM IN THE MATCH AND WAS A PART OF THIS GOALMOUTH SCRAMBLE EARLY ON. ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTOS.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Battery, Fleet launching joint Youth Academy

Charleston Battery Soccer Club, a joint Youth Club venture between the two highest level soccer clubs in the Charleston area, Charleston Battery and Charleston Fleet will begin offering Youth programs for both Boys and Girls at multiple levels this fall.

The club will offer programs at Recreational, Micro, Junior Academy, and Elite Levels, with plans to launch a U.S. Soccer Development Academy in the pipeline.

The program will offer leagues, camps, and tournaments for boys and girls from ages 4-18, with the goal to offer a “direct path” from Youth to Professional teams for both boys and girls in the interest of “growing the game both locally and nationally.” The boys will play under the Battery crest, with the girls playing under the Fleet crest.

To oversee the new Academy, the clubs are on the lookout for a Youth Technical Director, with more information promised in the near future.

In the meantime, you can follow the new academy on Twitter @CHSBatterySC for updates.

Battery fall short in Louisville

The Charleston Battery struggled throughout on Saturday night, losing to Louisville City FC by a score of 1-0.

It was a relatively quiet affair for both sides, but Louisville were the ones to take initiative, when Guy Abend’s goal in the 79th minute would eventually seal the points for the home side, and continue the Battery’s Kentucky woes.

Alex Tambakis was in goal, while there was changes in the backline again. With Skylar Thomas, Taylor Mueller, Miles Robinson and Jarad van Schaik as the back four. Kotaro Higashi and Maikel Chang were on opposite flanks, Naveal Hackshaw and Justin Portillo were in the midfield, with Attaula Guerra in behind Heviel Cordoves up front.

Louisville started the game the brightest, and earned a corner early on, only for it to be cleared away from danger by the Battery defense.

The home side would come straight back at them though,  as  after five minutes, Brian Ownby found space on the right of the box and forced Alex Tambakis into his first save of the evening at his near post.

On 11′, Attaula Guerra would intercept a wayward pass in midfield and slide the ball through for Maikel Chang, whose shot was destined for the top corner before Ranjitsingh in the Louisville goal would save well to his left.

Juat after a quarter of an hour, it was Heviel Cordoves who would beat a man and have a shot from the left from distance, but the ‘keeper was behind it all the way for an easy save.

At the other end, on 26′, it was Tambakis would had to save from distance and palm the ball out for a corner that also seemed destined to cause trouble for the Battery goal, but the cross was headed over.

On 35’, Justin Portillo would receive the ball in midfield, and in the absence of any defenders challenging him for the ball, as well as spotting the ‘keeper off his line, Portillo would attempt a rather audacious shot from about 40 yards out that had the goalkeeper worried, but it would end up going just wide.

A quick restart saw the home side attack at the other end, and Tambakis was forced into a save down low at the conclusion of some quick passing.

And that was how the first half ended. Neither team were very much on their game, as even the simplest of passes were going awry on either side of the ball. Largely down to the fact that part of the field was made of turf to cover up a baseball diamond that is also used in the stadium, and the rest being grass. The two surfaces were obviously difficult for both teams to adjust to, but they would have to soldier on.

A shot from distance from Oscar Jimenez was wide three minutes after the start of the second half, as both teams looked to come out in much better shape than how they ended the first.

On 53’, some good build up play looked to create a chance for the home side, only for Brian Ownby’s attempt at a cutting pass to be intercepted by Miles Robinson.

And four minutes later came an all-important save from Alex Tambakis, as Noel McCabe found himself free on the right for a shot, only to be thwarted by the sprawling ‘keeper at the near post.

The corner that followed was wasted, and similar to the home side’s chance in the first half, it was the Battery’s turn to break quickly as the ball would find Attaula Guerra, who would find Maikel Chang with an around-the-corner pass and leave him with a good opportunity to open the scoring only for the shot to be over the bar.

On 64′, the Battery would have some trouble clearing a ball away, and Louisville would nearly take advantage as a header found its way over the bar.

On 69’, Forrest Lasso would replace Cordoves, and though not known as a striker, he would be asked to use his frame to cause problems for defenders.

He would be involved in the action quickly enough, as on 74′, he would go down twice under challenges in the box, though the referee wasn’t persuaded to point to the spot, and the game continued.

And then, on 79′, came the hammer blow for the Battery, as they had trouble clearing the ball before it fell to the top of the box to the feet of Guy Abend, who controlled and shot into the bottom corner.

The goal surprised a few, as it looked as though the ball had initially gone out of play, but the Battery were indeed down with not long left.

And despite having most of the possession in the late knockings, the score would remain the same. The Battery would fall to the late goal, further slipping behind at the top of the table and continuing their winless streak in Louisville.

The next match is Saturday, September 9th, as the Battery welcome Southern Derby rivals Charlotte Independence as we return home. Kick off is at 7PM. You can stream the match on the club’s website, or watch on MyTV Charleston.

FEATURED: TWO PLAYERS FIGHT FOR A BALL IN A PREVIOUS MEETING BETWEEN THE TWO TEAMS. ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTO

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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