Battery fall in New York despite Portillo magic

Justin Portillo‘s excellent free kick was cancelled out by two second half goals from the New York Red Bulls as they went on to lose by a score of 2-1.

The Battery were much changed from the win in midweek against Bethlehem, with Heviel Cordoves coming in up top, replacing leading goalscorer Romario Williams, while Ricky Garbanzo would slot in for Attaula Guerra. Chris Goslin would make his first professional start in midfield beside Portillo, and Jeffery Otoo would replace Kotaro Higashi. Quinton Griffith would come back in after being rested against Bethlehem, but Skylar Thomas would slide to left back and replace Obi Woodbine. Odisnel Cooper would continue his platooning with Alex Tambakis in goal, while Miles Robinson kept his place ahead of Forrest Lasso despite the latter being back from suspension.

An early shot from Brandon Allen forced Odisnel Cooper into his first save of the evening, though it was an easy save for the ‘keeper, down low to his right from the edge of the box.

A free kick given after Ricky Garbanzo was adjudged to have handled the ball from roughly 25 yards gave Cooper a slightly more difficult task as he was forced to save a curling effort, which would eventually go out for a throw in.

Cooper was forced to claim a cross that curled away from him on 20′, which looked dangerous enough to trouble before the goalkeeper claimed.

David Najem would play the ball into a dangerous area a minute later before Cooper would eventually claim, cutting out the danger before it could be turned in.

The Battery would have their first half chance of the match on 26’, when a Portillo free kick was cleared at first, before being reset and eventually falling to Heviel Cordoves, but his shot went wide.

Cooper was pressed into action again a minute later, as some good buildup fell to Derek Ettienne, but Cooper would come out and claim the ball at his feet.

In the 41st minute, a poor backpass from the Red Bulls defense left Ricky Garbanzo one on on one with the goalkeeper, though the ‘keeper would come out and collide with Garbanzo, giving away the free kick, and, though earning himself a yellow card, could count himself lucky that the referee didn’t adjudge his challenge to be worthy of a red card.

But then, the Battery did find the breakthrough. Dante Marini would use his pace as he powered his way through the middle of the pitch before being taken down. And again, the Red Bulls could count themselves lucky as the replay showed that Marini caught a glancing elbow to the head, which was what actually took him off his feet.

Justin Portillo was then at the controls for the Battery roughly 20 yards from goal. The ball looked as if it may’ve been too close to get it up and over the wall and back down, but Portillo sent a curling effort on goal that gave the ‘keeper no chance, and gave the Battery the lead going into half time.

The goal was just about the last kick of the first half, and the Battery went in with their tails up.

But it was the hosts that came out looking the better side in the second half. An early wave of Red Bulls pressure led to a corner for the home side, though it was eventually cleared.

And on 50′, the Red Bulls could’ve drawn level. A cross in found Derek Ettienne, and while Odisnel Cooper would attempt to smother, he would only redirect it into the path of the onrunning Bezecourt, who put his shot over the bar.

The goal was coming though, and the pressure would finally tell three minutes later. Miles Robinson would deflect a Derek Ettienne shot out for a corner, which was taken by Bezecourt. The outswinging ball found Junior Fleming at the front post, who rose above his marker and headed the ball past Cooper to level the scoring.

Despite getting some decent possession to start the half, the Battery would be kicking themselves that they didn’t come out with a better approach, especially having gone in at half time with the lead.

And a few minutes later, the hosts could’ve had a second. Bezecourt led a counter and the Battery defenders couldn’t get a handle on him, before he would shoot wide, not troubling Cooper in goal.

On 57’, Heviel Cordoves would control a quick throw in and shoot from an odd angle on the left, but the shot was easily saved.

Just before the hour mark, the Battery would make their first change as they looked to regain the lead. Maikel Chang would replace Jeffery Otoo as they looked to add some more creative spark going forward.

And he was instantly involved, with some good footwork on the right wing before finding Miles Robinson who had stayed up from a corner that New York had cleared, but the center back’s shot was deflected before forcing the goalkeeper into a good save from close range.

Heviel Corodves would then hit the post on 63′, but was adjudged to be offside after Justin Portillo found him with a great cross from a free kick, and so if the ball would’ve found the net, it still wouldn’t have mattered.

Romario Williams would enter the game for Cordoves in the 69th. The Battery’s leading scorer would’ve liked to continue his day off given the quick turn around from the game in midweek, but needs must for the Battery if they were to continue their unbeaten run.

But it was the home side who would find the go ahead goal. The Battery could perhaps be aggrieved as Dante Marini would look to win the ball on the edge of the area, but the referee was having no complaints as Derek Ettienne would line the ball up. Cooper would set his wall to the left of him, but would be let down as Ettienne would curl a shot into the near post after his wall didn’t jump.

And so the Battery would find themselves behind, and after going in front, despite feeling slightly hard done by with the refereeing decisions. With just over quarter of an hour to go, they had a mountain to climb.

And with just about ten minutes to go, Attaula Guerra would replace Chris Goslin. This meant that the Battery had all their explosive tools on the pitch, after the three subs brought on their three most attacking threats to go along with Portillo in midfield.

With five minutes to go, Romario Williams would have a great chance to level when he turned his defender and found room to shoot, but his effort was straight at the keeper.

The Red Bulls could’ve sealed it shortly after, when the Battery were caught with too many men up field to attack a free kick and the hosts hit them on the counter, with Bezecourt forcing Cooper into a magnificent save to redirect it behind before it was cleared.

The Battery had the ball in the net in stoppage time as a free kick was swung in at the back post and turned in after the ‘keeper would go up for the ball and not claim, but a foul was given and the goal was waved off.

And that’s how game would finish. The Battery would remain on top of the East after Tampa Bay drew on Saturday, though they would slip at the chance to go five points clear.

They next play on Wednesday in the US Open Cup, away against the Jacksonville Armada. Kickoff is at 7:00.

PHOTO CREDIT ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY

 

 

 

 

 

A Comprehensive Look at the 2017 Battery

The Charleston Battery begin their 25th anniversary season with a few brownie points in their pocket after a largely successful pre-season campaign. The Carolina Challenge Cup returned, bringing the Seattle Sounders, Columbus Crew and the Battery’s MLS affiliate Atlanta United to the Holy City in what was a very successful week for the club on and off the pitch.

The Battery drew two and lost one in the CCC, as they showed a lot of grit for a team who’d only been together for a few weeks. They earned a draw with Seattle thanks to Kotaro Higashi‘s 90th minute equalizer, and led the Columbus Crew for a majority of the game despite eventually conceding a goal, before coming up unlucky against Atlanta United, earning a taste of their own late-goal medicine.

The loss to Atlanta was one of only two in the pre-season, only losing on their travels to North Carolina FC. The Battery filled out their pre-season with their usual meetings with local college teams, winning seven of their eight non-CCC games despite the loss to their northern counterparts, with Heviel Cordoves, Attaula Guerra, and Romario Williams playing starring roles in more than a few big wins for the Black and Yellow.

Last year ended on a slightly sour note for the Battery after sort of grinding to a halt. They didn’t particularly finish the season well, but did cause an upset of sorts after turning heads by silencing a rocking Nippert Stadium and beating FC Cincinnati away from home. However, they bowed out of the playoffs thanks to a loss to Louisville City in the conference semis, falling to the #2 seed as New York Red Bulls II would eventually win the league title.

Lack of depth was a problem for the Black and Yellow last season, which was a big reason why momentum slowed down toward the middle-to-end of last year, and the Front Office has gone a little ways to correct this in 2017, completing six new signings after a fruitful batch of trials during pre-season, whilst also keeping hold of a large number of last season’s standouts, barring Zach Prince and Shawn Ferguson, who hung up their boots at the end of the last campaign.

The Battery took advantage of partnerships in the PDL by welcoming Nico Rittmeyer and Ryan Arambula into the fold from Tormenta FC and the Myrtle Beach Mutiny respectively, whilst Rittmeyer adds to a successful batch of College of Charleston alums to come through the Battery doors, and both players were involved with the SC Battery Academy early on in their careers.

Tah Brian Anunga is another new recruit after bouncing around at several levels of the USL, commonly used as a defensive midfielder in pre-season, he has past links to Wilmington and the Carolina Dynamo, and has represented his native Cameroon at U-17, U-20, and U-23 levels.

Former first round draft pick Skylar Thomas joins after spending time with Toronto FC II. He had 47 appearances with the Canadian side, and looks to establish himself as the successor to the now-retired Shawn Ferguson. He was also one to deputize at Left Back, given that Obrien Woodbine will be suspended for the first three matches of the new campaign.

Perhaps the most talked about addition is that of Kotaro Higashi. He helped his cause by scoring the equalizer in the draw with Seattle during the CCC, and impressing during the rest of the pre-season on his way to a contract.

Goalkeeper Joe Kuzminski joins after a successful college career at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, where he served three years as a starter and was captain during his senior year. He’ll likely serve as back up to Odisnel Cooper, who returns after a solid 2016. Given his age, you’d wonder if Kuzminski is seen as the one for the future for the club, and in which case, learning from the experienced Cooper, as well as coach Dusty Hudock, can only help his development.

The Battery again take advantage of their affiliation with Atlanta United, welcoming back Romario Williams and Jeffrey Otoo for the 2017 season. Additionally, Alex Tambakis and Mikey Ambrose will be available for Charleston against Cincy, as Ambrose will look to fill the hole left by the suspended Woodbine.

The new season looks to be an interesting one for the Battery, with anticipation being high ahead of their silver anniversary. The fact that six of their first ten matches are at home can only help, as a good start will certainly be beneficial in a season that runs from March 25th until mid-October.

Our first match, at home against FC Cincinnati, will definitely not be easy. Cincy are going into the new season with a new manager, and will certainly have a bad taste in their mouth following their early exit from the playoffs at the hands of the Black and Yellow.

The Battery begin their 25th season this coming Saturday against FC Cincinnati. You can watch the match on MyTV Charleston, or stream it via the club’s website or on YouTube.

TOP IMAGE: THE BATTERY PREPARE FOR A MATCH LAST SEASON AT MUSC HEALTH STADIUM. ROSS ALMERS PHOTO

 

 

Battery hold on for well-fought draw against Columbus

Matchday Two of the Carolina Challenge Cup took place on Wednesday, with the hosts Charleston Battery opening the night against the Columbus Crew.

The Battery and Crew share a little bit of history, as well as the same colors, but the Battery were in Black and White as part of a commemoration of their 25th anniversary, while the Crew donned their Black and Yellow away strip.

The Battery again gave a good showing, and opened the scoring on 25 minutes, when a Justin Portillo corner skimmed off the head of Forrest Lasso and into the bottom corner. The Crew began to press a little more in search of an equalizer toward the end of the first half, but it wasn’t until the second, and an Own Goal on the hour mark from  Tah Brian Anunga that Columbus found the telling equalizer.

Defender Harrison Afful created the first chance of the evening after six minutes, when his cross sought out Frederico Higuain. Higuaín scored two goals in the Crew’s opening match, but couldn’t add to his tally here as his shot of the volley was deflected.

A Dante Marini handball led to a free kick about 20 yards out, but the dangerous set piece was sent over the bar.

Jeffery Otoo was involved in a lot of good things tonight, and his first involvement of the night was to play Romario Williams in for a 1v1 with the ‘keeper, but he tried to place it and hit the shot wide.

But the hosts would make the early pressure tell as Justin Portillo was at the controls of a corner kick on 25’. His ball into the mixer found a rising Forrest Lasso, who aimed a header down low and into the bottom corner.

The Battery, on the scheme of things were probably the better side up until that point, and could say that their lead was deserved, but the Crew would come back at them.

The Right Back Afful was very much a threat in the first half, and was involved again as his cross on 24 caused a bit of havoc in the back. The cross was cleared by Forrest Lasso, helping out this time at the back, and the shot on the rebound was then wide.

Romario Williams would then do very well on the edge of the box to slip in Attaula Guerra, but the linesman put his flag up for offside, cancelling out the 1v1 in which the attacker rounded the ‘keeper.

The Crew would have a succession of corners close to half time, but nothing came of the set pieces, and the battery would go in at halftime with the 1-0 advantage.

Romario Williams would set up a counter on 47’, but his cross would be cut out.

A Dante Marini ball would find Williams on 53′ but his shot would go over the bar.

Some good build up play eventually found Nico Hanson in the box, who had the goal at his mercy with the onrushing ‘Keeper, but the shot hit the post. ‘

A Justin Portillo free kick on the left wing near the hour mark would bounce through and hit the post before being cleared by the Crew defense. The ball set up a counter that led to a Crew free kick after Taylor Meuller fouled Justin Miram.

The free kick was powered toward the middle, and in his attempt to hastily clear, Tah Brian Anunga would send the ball on frame and into his own net.

But four minutes later, a great first touch by sub Kotaro Higashi would play in Guerra, who was unlucky as his shot hit the post.

Around the 68th minute, a worrying sight for Battery fans came as Maikel Chang would come off injured, but he’d be replaced by Nico Rittmeyer.

Heviel Cordoves would come on in the second half. and would take down a free kick well on 83 and shoot on the turn, but his effort was saved as it was destined for the top corner.

Four minutes later, the Battery had some good buildup fall to Cordoves again, who played in a pass for the overlapping run, but the ball wouldn’t trouble the defense as it went over the bar.

More late heroics may have been on offer as the Battery got a free kick late on in stoppage time, but the ball didn’t trouble the ‘keeper as it was cleared.

And so, the Battery finished their 2nd game of the tournament with two points in the standings, but they can be pleased with the way they’d performed so early in the season, and will be hopefull of continuing such form as they go into the season proper.

The second match of the evening between Atlanta and Seattle ended 4-2 after Atlanta took a quick early lead through first half goals from Josef Martinez, a penalty from Miguel Almiron and a third from Hector Villalba before Martinez added to his tally with a tasty chip for 4-0 early in the second half, though Seattle would answer with two of their own, making the final score 4-2.

The Carolina Challenge Cup concludes this Saturday, when the Columbus Crew take on the Seattle Sounders, before the Battery and Atlanta United finish out the tournament.

TOP IMAGE: FORREST LASSO RISES HIGHEST ON A CORNER KICK TO PUT THE BATTERY AHEAD. ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTO

 

Why Atlanta United’s SuperDraft picks should matter to the Battery

A new season is upon us, with the Battery set to begin their preseason tournament, the Carolina Challenge Cup, in just under a month.

For MLS sides, the hard work has already begun, with the MLS SuperDraft signaling the spiritual start of the new campaign. Given that the Battery are affiliated with MLS’ Atlanta United, fans should have an eye on ATL UTD’s picks, as they could be seeing them sooner rather than later.

Like with Alex Tambakis, Andrew Carleton, Jeffery Otoo, and a few others from last year, there is a good chance that one or more ATL draft picks could land in Charleston to gain some vital experience.

In the four rounds of the draft, Atlanta United selected a goalkeeper, a defender and two midfielders. Goalkeeper Alex Kapp, out of Creighton, had an 81% save percentage in 18 games in his senior year, and so might be looked upon to be a crucial last line of defense in Atlanta’s first season.

Defender Miles Robinson, who ATL chose with the second overall pick in the Draft, seems like a tall, rangy, athletic sort of defender with an eye for a pass and strength to hold his own in the challenge.

Midfielders Julian Gressel and Anthony Wheeler-Omiunu both show ability in the middle of the park in different roles. Atlanta’s own twitter seems to be highlighting Wheeler’s passing ability, while Gressel seems to be more of an attacking threat, having been the Providence leader in Points during his 2016 season with 15 goals and 6 assists.

The best bet to learn who’s going to be finding themselves in the Holy City would be to look at Atlanta’s roster, at least in a couple of cases. Goalkeepers Alec Kann and the aforementioned Tambakis are the only ones on the books for Atlanta at the minute, so it’s possible that Tata Martino’s staff could send a third choice ‘keeper down for experience and playing time. You may see them rotate for the first couple of weeks to see what works and what doesn’t.

As for Robinson, Greg Garza and Zack Loyd are the ones who stick out at you for center-back, making Robinson a possible third choice and maybe a candidate for playing time in Charleston, but given the fact that Loyd is versatile, and also that Robinson seems to have certain tools that belie his years a little, it’s possible that Loyd may shift to make room for him.

The midfield is a little bit harder to say. Atlanta signed Argentian Hector Villalba as a DP as their first “major signing” and followed that up with Chris McCann. Both of those would most likely hold down spots in the XI for different reasons. Given the fact that there are a few more options in Wheeler’s department, including Jeff Larentowicz, and Miguel Almiron, it’s possible that Wheeler could be headed to Charleston.

Julian Gressel is another possibility, but his numbers may bode well toward his chances in Atlanta. Gressel is seen as a #10 or #8, which fits his style. It’s also worth noting that for the most part, Atlanta’s roster is young, so that’s another thing to put into the equation.

Of course, it’s highly likely that players we saw last year, such as Romario Williams, Tambakis and Otoo could be back this campaign, but it’s still up in the air until official word is given.

So, with a month left until CCC, it’s full steam ahead toward the new season. Stay tuned for more news in the lead up.

FEATURED IMAGE: MILES ROBINSON AND JULIAN GRESSEL POSE FOR PHOTOS AT MLS SUPERDRAFT. SOURCE: ATLANTA UNITED TWITTER/MLS

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Rangers tops Battery in entertaining friendly

After another pre-match deluge and delayed kick off, it was Rangers who prevailed in a long awaited friendly with the Charleston Battery by a score of 2-1. Jason Windass and Harry Forrester were amongst the goals for the visitors, whilst Attaulah Guerra’s first goal for the Battery late on proved a consolation.

Before the match kicked off, the two honorary captains, Helen and Doug DeLong participated in the coin toss. There was also a special video message played on the jumbotron from the Men in Blazers for Doug, as he prepares for surgery to have a brain tumor removed. We wish him the best of luck.

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The match also featured former US international Oguchi Onyewu, who’s on trial with Rangers as he prepares to work his way back to fitness after missing all of last year through injury.

Quinton Griffith earned the Battery’s first corner of the evening on 13 minutes, when his pace got him to the byline and his eventual cross was blocked. The set piece was cleared for another, but it eventually led to nothing.

A ball played through toward Dante Marini from a free kick almost led to a half chance, but the ball was too long for the winger to catch up to, and was collected by the ‘keeper, Wes Foderingham.

Odisnel Cooper was forced into his first save of the evening when Kenny Miller shot from just outside the box on 20′. Cooper struggled to hold on, maybe down to the conditions, but the ball was cleared.

Rangers midfielder Josh Windass got through the Battery defense after weaving his way past his marker on 24′, but his shot was saved. Rangers were creating chances, with Windass himself being one of the focal points, along with Miller, but the net hadn’t yet bulged.

Four minutes later, Andy Halliday would get through on the break for a 1-on-1 with Cooper, but his shot had too much pace on it and went narrowly wide at the far post.

And then, for all of Rangers’ chances, the Battery had one of their own. A ball through over the top found Ricky Garbanzo, who had beaten the ‘keeper to the ball. Garbanzo flicked the ball up in an attempt to chip, but the ball hit the post and stayed out.

And so, at half time, it was all square between the two sides. Rangers were indeed the better team, as you’d expect, but the delay in the weather made it difficult for either team to really play to their full potential.

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10 subs were made at half time by the Battery, with Taylor Mueller the only one to remain on. Zach Prince, Alex Tambakis, Chris Tsonis, Forrest Lasso, and four Atlanta United loanees, including homegrown signing Andrew Carleton and Jeffery Otoo. Patrick Okonkwo, who plays for Atlanta United’s academy, also made an appearance.

It was the latter who would earn the first chance of the second half, after receiving the ball from out on the wing. He held the ball up in the middle of the box, turned, and shot wide of the target. He will say he should’ve done better, maybe panicking a little with the defender on his back.

Kenny Miller had a chance at the other end on 52′, when his header went just wide of goal. The striker had been everywhere, making things happen on and off the ball, and was one of Rangers’ best players on the night.

But the deadlock was finally broken when Rangers countered and got the ball to the byline on the right through O’Halloran, who found Miller, whose shot was saved, but the rebound was pounced upon by Josh Windass and the score was 1-0 in the 58th. It was no more than the away side deserved, and the game probably needed a goal for fear of just petering out a little bit in the second half.

Rangers would add to their goal in the 78th, when Harry Forrester was given time and space to shoot, and the effort dinged off the post and in. It was an impressive strike that beat Tambakis in goal all ends up, but the defending really should have been better for the Battery.

Though the Battery got a little bit of consolation with eight minutes to go, with a ball through finding Attaulah Guerra on the right edge of the box. He had nowhere to go, as his defender was covering the angle for a cross, but gave him space enough to try a half volley from a seemingly impossible angle, that somehow found its way into the back of the net. The goal is Guerra’s first for the Battery, and maybe he’ll say it was worth the wait.

The match ended shortly after, with both teams having vastly different 11s to the ones that started the match. However, this match was somewhat important to the Rangers players, it being their only preseason game before they have a first round tie in the Scottish Cup, so fitness was always key.

The Battery are in action away to Louisville City as they return to league play on Saturday, July 9th. Kick off is at 7:30PM

TOP IMAGE: BOTH TEAMS POSE FOR A GROUP PHOTO BEFORE KICKOFF OF WEDNESDAY’S FRIENDLY. ALL PHOTOS CREDIT ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY.