Striker Svantesson brings height, goals to 2018 Battery

The Charleston Battery have announced the signing of striker Ian Svantesson ahead of the 2018 season on a one year deal.

Svantesson led the Tulsa Roughnecks with 11 goals on the way to a playoff berth in the west, and also was amongst the team leaders in chances created, minutes per goal and key passes. The signing makes perfect sense for the Black and Yellow following the departures of Romario Williams and Heviel Cordoves, given the Battery’s use of strong and powerful center forwards.

It’s also worth noting that Svantesson played with Joe Kuzminski in college at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, Kuzminski a Junior during Svantesson’s Senior year in 2015, and also with Jarad van Schaik with Rayo OKC in 2015, his first year as a pro. Coach Anhaeuser puts a lot of stock in togetherness, and will no doubt be hoping his old teammates can help him settle into his new surroundings.

Svantesson is a part of the squad along with nine of the 2017 squad which finished 2nd in the East, along with the aforementioned Kuzminski, and van Schaik, along with defenders Quinton Griffith, Skylar Thomas, and captain Taylor Mueller, and midfielders Tah Brian Anunga, Naveal Hackshaw, Kotaro Higashi, and Attaula Guerra.

The Battery will next look to open trials to add to their ranks, which take place on January 26th and 27th, with a second pair of dates from February 9th and 10th before a combine shortly before this year’s edition of the Carolina Challenge Cup. The Battery have signed at least one player from the open trials since they first began in 2002.

You can view some of the best of what our new signing could offer on the club’s website.

 

 

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Cordoves volley earns Battery playoff berth against Ottawa

Heviel Cordoves’ sixth goal in as many games meant the Charleston Battery gained the point they needed to secure a playoff spot in a 1-1 draw with the Ottawa Fury.

The Battery struggled for long periods of the game, having conceded early, and especially after losing Forrest Lasso midway through the second half for a second bookable offence, but Cordoves’ equalizer five minutes from time would rescue a decent result from an otherwise frustrating day at the office for the Black and Yellow.

Much of the first quarter of an hour didn’t have much in the way of chances, but a ball in low to Fury striker Steevan Dos Santos on 16′ wasn’t dealt with by Taylor Mueller, and a second chance at the shot gave the forward time to slot past Odisnel Cooper in goal.

And so, having fallen asleep after the back and forth of the early goings, the Battery needed to get themselves back up again and try to find the equalizer.

An attack started by Justin Portillo on 20′ looked to do just that. The Battery’s midfield maestro would play out to the wing to Kotaro Higashi, before Attaula Guerra‘s ball through on the top of the box was too strong for Romario Williams.

Just a minute later, the winger Higashi would get a backheel from Williams and play a fizzing ball across that forced the ‘keeper to come out and punch, though his effort wasn’t quite as strong as he’dve hoped, but there were no players in the white of the Battery to follow in and get a shot off on the rebound.

There weren’t too many chances after until on the stroke of half-time, when Maikel Chang whipped in a corner low and found Naveal Hackshaw on the front post, who flicked the ball on before it clattered off the inside of the near post in a sequence not unlike the one that Heviel Cordoves scored against Richmond.

A give and go on the other side of the break in the 49th fell to Quinton Griffith, but he would blaze a shot over the bar.

At the other end, however, Steevan Dos Santos would play a 1-2 of his own at the top of the box, only for his effort to go wide of the target also.

And on 59′, Forrest Lasso would be given his marching orders after his second yellow, making the task at hand, ultimately getting at least a point, all the more hard for the visitors.

Skylar Thomas would come on for Naveal Hackshaw just past the hour mark, which was a change to make up for the central defender lost in Lasso.

The Battery would make a second sub, this time of the attacking sort, with 15 minutes to go, when Maikel Chang would be replaced by Heviel Cordoves, who was hoping to make a similar impact to his few previous performances, finally finding his footing at such a crucial time in the season.

After 77′, An Ottawa corner would quickly break down, which led to a lung-busting run from Quinton Griffith down the middle, who would play wide the substitute Cordoves. He would play a dangerous ball into the box, but there was no one there to get on the end of it.

The Battery then had a pair of free kicks inside the last ten minutes in which to pump the ball into the box to look for the equalizer, but both were given offside and were wasted.

And then, finally, with five minutes of normal time to go, Romario Williams would pick his head up and find Heviel Cordoves in space and place the ball ahead of him with the outside of his foot, and the striker took the ball down with a great first touch before beating his man on the edge of the six yard box with an elaborate flick and hitting the ball full on the volley with his weaker right foot to beat the ‘keeper and draw the Battery level.

With five minutes left, the Battery knew that the point they would gain if they held on would secure them a spot in the Playoffs, but they would have to stay composed, knowing that they let a similar result slip just a week ago against Orlando.

In the three minutes of added on time, Odisnel Cooper would be forced to make some very important interceptions on crosses, but none would be altogether too troubling, and the Battery would end up indeed holding on for that all-important point.

And so, with two games to spare, the Battery qualified for the USL playoffs. They next play Harrisburg on Saturday, October 7th, as they look to hang on to one of the top four spots, which would ensure them at least one home game in the playoffs. Kick off is scheduled for 7PM, and you can watch on MyTV Charleston or on the club’s website.

TOP IMAGE: HEVIEL CORDOVES (PICTURED) CONTINUED HIS EXCELLENT RUN WITH ANOTHER LATE GOAL TO EARN THE BATTERY A PLAYOFF-CLINCHING POINT IN OTTAWA. ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTO

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 pegged back through late goal against NYRB

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Battery’s failure to convert leads to loss in Toronto

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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