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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

 

 

 

 

 

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 frustrated in scoreless draw with Orlando

The Charleston Battery hoped a return home for the first match in three games would provide an upturn in fortunes after a demoralizing winless away trip, but they ended Saturday’s match with Orlando City B possibly even more agitated than before, as the match ended 0-0.

There were again changes to the XI, with Odisnel Cooper reclaiming his place in goal, while Forrest Lasso returned at center back beside Taylor Mueller, and the same could be said for Quinton Griffith at left back. Jarad van Schaik made his first start since re-signing with the Black and Yellow, while Naveal Hackshaw was pulled back into midfield beside Justin Portillo in his more natural position after playing behind the striker against Pittsburgh. Kotaro Higashi played underneath Heviel Cordoves. Fans wanting to see striker Romario Williams after having returned from Gold Cup duty would have to wait a bit longer, as he started the game on the bench, likely in an effort to ease him back into the swing of things and make sure the legs didn’t get too tight after so many games in quick succession in Jamaica’s run to the Final. The bench would also include the likes of Attaula Guerra, Tah Brian Anunga, Ricky Garbanzo and Lagos Kunga, so there was no shortage of attacking options for the home side.

The Battery started off the brighter of the two sides, forcing a corner in the opening ten minutes, for it only to be cleared away without beating the first man. The shot back in from the edge of the box fell to Heviel Cordoves, who calmly stuck it in the net, but was adjudged to be offside.

Odisnel Cooper was forced into his first save of the evening from a Danny Deakin effort from the left edge of the box. Cooper struggled to hang onto the ball, but would smother before his attempted save could cause a rebound.

Forrest Lasso got himself into a spot of bother when he hacked at a sliding clearance away that only ricocheted into the path of another Orlando player and would eventually lead to a shot from Hadji Berry that Cooper would have to be quick off his line to smother. A rebound would find the feet of Scott Thomsen, but his effort would go high over the bar.

The Battery would begin to create more as the half wore on, and earned a corner on 42′, but it would only be cleared before a foul was given to alleviate pressure.

A minute later came the biggest chance of the game yet. A long ball over the top gave Cordoves the chance to run onto it, and he would outmuscle a man to go one-on-one with the on-rushing goalkeeper. He would then attempt to chip as the ‘keeper made himself big, but couldn’t get the ball over his outstretched arm and the chance was gone.

And that was the end of the first half. The Battery were finding spaces to create and getting half chances, but were sloppy in the final third, and would have to put that right to force anything from the game.

On 52′, the Battery would again threaten. A free kick was played into the back post, but was cleared away before finding the feet of Maikel Chang, who again played into the back stick, this time finding Forrest Lasso, who couldn’t direct his header on target.

After the chance came the arrival of Romario Williams, having had his ease back into the side cut short by the lack of clear cut opportunities in front of goal. The home side were hoping that the return of their top goalscorer could spark some life into an attack that had been skiddish to say the least since his departure for the Gold Cup.

But Orlando would have other ideas. A bouncing ball across the 12 yard box found Austin Martz, a full back who had ventured up the touchline, and but for the fact that he couldn’t keep his shot down, the home side would’ve been behind 1-0.

A Battery corner on the hour mark spelled danger but only to be cleared first time as players visibly began to get frustrated. There were more fouls going in as the game went on, and the game began to get bogged down in midfield and became a bit stop-start because of all this. Not the best scenario for a team that was in serious need to relax, but in the current run of form, they would understandably find that hard to come by.

Lagos Kunga would come on to make his home debut after 62 minutes, replacing Jarad van Schaik. For just being back, van Schaik looked sharp. His passing ability on display as he would do his best to link up play, but Kunga was on to add a bit of speed and directness to the attack, which the Battery needed if they were going to get over the line.

He had one or two decent touches before he had a look at goal when, on 71′,  Romario Williams would square up to his man on the wing before slotting a ball across. The ball would take a deflection off an opponent’s leg before Kunga would receive it roughly 12 yards out. The winger took a little bit too much time on it though, and it would be hacked only as far as Maikel Chang, though he couldn’t quite get the ball under his spell either, and the chance was gone.

Orlando had a chance at the other end with just over 10 minutes to go when a corner refused to be fully cleared and pinballed its way around the box, only to end up on top of the net for a goal kick.

Orlando would again threaten from a corner in the 80th minute, but it would be cleared before any trouble was caused.

On 83’, came the last real chance to score. Chang squared up with his defender on the right before trying to curl one into the far corner that was only blocked. The ball would fall to him farther in however, but his rebounded shot would also be blocked and behind for a corner.

The set piece would actually find the head of an attacker and looked destined for the net, but it was cleared off the line.

In the end, it finished 0-0. It was somewhat agonizing for the Battery, who were offside no less than eight times in the match despite showing a little bit of creativity from Chang and Portillo, except that they lacked again the cutting edge that would find them the winner.

The Battery next face Toronto FC II on Saturday, August 5th at 4:30 PM. You can watch it on MyTV Charleston or online at the club’s Website

PHOTO CREDIT ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY

Subs shine as Battery earn late point against Riverhounds

Maikel Chang‘s 83rd minute equalizer meant the Charleston Battery took a point from the final game of a three-match road trip Wednesday against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.

The visitors would open the scoring when Miles Robinson climbed highest to meet a Justin Portillo corner early on, but Victor Souto would respond with a back post volley on 20′. Corey Hertzog would expertly bend one into the top corner from an improbable angle midway through the second half, before Chang would set up a give-and-go with Attaula Guerra, eventually slotting home with seven minutes left.

Miles Robinson would come into the side after replacing Forrest Lasso near the end of the loss in Tampa, while Skylar Thomas would slot in at right back. Quinton Griffith and Maikel Chang were on the flanks, while Portillo and Tah Brian Anunga were in the middle. Up top was the pairing of Naveal Hackshaw and Ricky Garbanzo, one that seemed a little odd, but showed effectiveness at times throughout the night. Last week’s standout Lagos Kunga was on the bench, as was Jarad van Schaik and Attaula Guerra, having both overcome injuries to feature in the 18. Heviel Cordoves and Kotaro Higashi rounded out the substitutes, meaning there was no shortage of viable options as has sometimes been the case this year.

Acclimatizing to the turf proved a bit tricky in the early goings, when Romeo Parkes would beat his marker Robinson to the ball and volley toward goal with an unorthodox over the head effort that went narrowly wide in the 6th minute.

A couple minutes later, it was Hertzog who would create a chance as he clattered the bar after holding his run up and staying onside, leaving the defenders confused, but the Battery would survive.

And not too long after, they found themselves in front. Another expert cross from a corner by Justin Portillo connected with Miles Robinson, who rose highest to power a header into the back of the net.

The goal perhaps came against the run of play, but having scored their first goal in three games after going scoreless in losses to St. Louis & Tampa, they weren’t too bothered. The assist for Portillo was his sixth of the year, breaking a tie for the team lead with Maikel Chang on five.

But unfortunately, the lead wouldn’t last. The game got a bit bogged down in midfield until Pittsburgh would force a corner of their own in the 21st. The set-piece got a little flick on before finding Victor Souto at the back post unmarked to volley home.

The defense were asking questions of each other, but would have to take joint responsibility for poor marking. In the end, no matter the confusion, someone has to mark the man, and leaving someone open at the back post was something that would frustrate coach Mike Anheuser to no end.

The Battery could’ve been back in front a few minutes later however, when a Portillo free kick again found Robinson drifting at the back post, but this time he was coming down by the time he latched onto the ball, and the shot lacked power.

The ball would ping itself into a dangerous area for the home side just past the half hour mark, which would eventually fall to a Riverhounds attacker, but his shot on the turn from just outside the box would be right at Tambakis.

Maikel Chang led a counter on 33′ where he could’ve taken a shot himself, but instead sprayed wide to Quinton Griffith, who laid off for the onrushing Justin Portillo. His effort toward the bottom corner was saved, as it seemed as if the Battery’s recent struggles to find the perfect pass were settling back in.

They would keep applying pressure though, as, soon after, Ricky Garbanzo won the ball high up the pitch in a tackle before laying off to Naveal Hackshaw, who perhaps had a little more time, but dragged his shot wide.

On 41′ Tambakis would do well to claim a dangerous ball in the middle of the box before a Riverhounds attacker could pounce, as the end of the first half went started to go back and forth.

A couple minutes later came a chance at the other end as Quinton Griffith sent a bouncing through ball to the feet of Ricky Garbanzo, who sent it just inches over the bar.

And that’s how the first half ended. It was an entertaining first half, and there was much to play for. The Battery could be happy that they’d ended their mini goal drought, but there was still work to do.

The second half started as the first one ended, the home side creating little half chances, Washington sending the ball dangerously across the face, but no one would claim. While at the other end for the visitors, Taylor Mueller would snap a stooping header toward goal, only for it to narrowly go wide of the far post.

Corey Hertzog forced a handball on 56′, but the ensuing free kick would be cleared out of danger.

However, Hertzog wasn’t to be kept quiet. A throw in on 61′ wasn’t dealt with defensively, and the striker took advantage of the ‘keeper expecting a cross to fake him out and bend one into the far corner and in.

Whilst the defending was slack in trying to close the man down, no one would’ve expected a shot like that, partially because it requires a ball to be so well struck to attempt it. But nevertheless, the Battery were behind, and had again to pick themselves up.

The boss’s response to this was to throw on the big guns. He made a double switch not too long after, bringing on Attaula Guerra and Heviel Cordoves.

Guerra would quickly make his mark on proceedings, linking up play quicker and getting into better spaces on and off the ball, which is something the Battery had missed since he’s been out with a recurring thigh problem.

On 76’ came a great chance, when Guerra would turn his man and play an incisive ball in toward Cordoves, who couldn’t stretch out enough to make contact to equalize.

Three minutes later, Guerra would again create, getting a flick on from a Battery Free kick, which was saved.

Chang would receive the ball and take a shot from the left shortly after, but it wouldn’t trouble the ‘keeper and went wide.

Kotaro Higashi would be the Battery’s final sub, replacing Tah Brian Anunga with 10 minutes left. The thought being that perhaps Guerra would go further forward to partner Cordoves, while Higashi would go wide, and Chang more central to become a little more creative. It made sense given the Battery’s predicament, and it was surely all hands on deck for the visitors.

Tambakis was forced into an important save from distance on 82, but conceded a corner that was eventually cleared.

And it was possibly made more important by what would happen next. Maikel Chang and Attaula Guerra would play a 1-2 at the top of the box, which resulted in Chang going free of his marker and smashing it in far post for the equalizer.

A breath of relief seemed to sweep through the side as two of the main attacking influences would combine, but the work wasn’t done just yet.

Chang had a shot blocked and forced clear with roughly three minutes to go, as the Battery looked for a winner now at the death.

But the home side would force a corner, which was taken short and played in only for Tambakis to collect with two minutes of normal time to go.

Three minutes of stoppage time were signaled by the referee, and Pittsburgh would earn another free kick in the 91st, but the set piece was again collected by Tambakis.

Shortly after, the final whistle blew. The Battery can be pleased with the result, having stopped a two-game losing streak, and playing much better than they had in the two previous games, with more possession and more creativity.

The Battery next return home Saturday, July 29 to play Orlando City B. Kickoff is at 7PM, and you can watch the match on MyTV Charleston or stream it at the club’s website.

TOP IMAGE: MAIKEL CHANG’S 83rd MINUTE EQUALIZER GAVE THE BATTERY A POINT IN PITTSBURGH TONIGHT. PHOTO CREDIT ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTO

Battery 2016 Season: A Definitive Preview

Going into the new season presents a new chapter, and new challenges. While the offseason provided its ups and downs, one could make a case for the former being more present than the latter.

One change, and perhaps the biggest, is the sale of the club to B Sports Entertainment. After many years led by Tony Bakker, the founder of software company Blackbaud, a new day dawns for the Battery, one which has fans abuzz with excitement. The biggest change (for now, at least) may be the 90×32 ft replay screen. The buyout is one which the Battery hopes will continue to “accelerate the recent growth” of the side.

As far as the on-field things go, the Battery have lost some of their most influential players from 2015. One being Dane Kelly, (now with Sporting Kansas City B team Swope Park Rangers) who accounted for 14 goals last year, including Cup and Playoff games, and Jarad van Schaik, (who has joined NASL side Rayo OKC) who had established himself as a lynchpin in the midfield alongside Justin Portillo.

Despite this, many players stuck around for the 2016 season. The defense that held firm for the Battery in 2015 stays largely intact, with club Defender of the Year Shawn Ferguson and center back partner Taylor Meuller  signed on for 2016, while both regular full backs Obrien Woodbine and Quinton Griffith both return. Behind them in goal, Odisnel Cooper stays on, while in midfield, Zach Prince begins his 8th season with the Battery, making him the longest serving player on the team, and the aforementioned Justin Portillo was one of the first to sign on for the new season. Assist leader Maikel Chang and Dante Marini give the side a bit of depth on the wing, and Heviel Cordoves looks to add to his decent return up front, while midfielder Ricky Garbanzo, will hope to continue the high-pressing, fast paced performances of his first season.

An affiliation with fledgling MLS side Atlanta United FC could prove to be fruitful, with them supplying Goalkeeper Alex Tambakis on loan for the 2016 season. This provides, at the very least cover for regular ‘keeper Cooper, and also much needed competition.

As well as Tambakis, Jamaican forward Romario Williams joins from the Montreal Impact on loan, looking to fill the void left by Dane Kelly, while also providing cover for Cordoves. Forward Ataulluah Guerra also gives options, and also a little bit of international experience, while the signing of multiple strikers might see the Battery change systems at one point or another during the season depending on player form. Midfielder Naviel Hackshaw, as with Guerra, comes from Trinadad and Tobago, and will surely be looking to establish himself alongside Justin Portillo in the center of the park.

Four members of the SC Battery Academy have joined the side, including Cole Gulledge, who can play in midfield or defense, midfielder Alex Anderson, Connor Sloan, who can play in the middle or up front, and striker Robbie Robertson. Keep in mind that registered academy players are allowed to play in the USL without losing College eligibility.

A productive preseason ended with a bang against the New York Cosmos, with Ricky Garbanzo scoring a brace, and Dante Marini also on the scoresheet.

The Battery start their season, and finish, at home. The first match of the season is against FC Cincinatti, and they finish against New York Red Bulls II. Other notable fixtures include a trip to Florida against Orlando City B, whose parent club we enjoyed a heated rivalry with during their USL days, with Southern Derby matches against Wilmington Hammerheads on April 9th at MUSC Health Stadium, and May 21st and August 20th in North Carolina. Matches against the Richmond Kickers, which stands to be the longest running series in American Soccer, are on July 2nd at MUSC Health Stadium,  and August 17th and September 17th in Richmond. Three games against Charlotte Independence come on April 17th away from home, and August 3rd and 27th at MUSC Health Stadium. The aforementioned Orlando City B host the Battery on April 1st, and visit Charleston on June 11th and July 13th.

The Battery look to build on a 3rd place finish in the eastern conference in 2015, looking to add to a rich history that started in 1993, making them one of the most storied clubs in American Soccer. Will they add a fifth star to the badge come October? Only time will tell.