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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Battery book #2 seed with win over Charlotte

The Charleston Battery will return to MUSC Health Stadium next Saturday after locking up the second seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs with a win against the Charlotte Independence to close out the regular season.

Attaula Guerra’s strike toward the end of the first half opened the scoring, and the visitors would have to dig deep to keep their rivals at bay despite the home side having the better of possession in various spells throughout the game.

It was Charlotte who came out the blocks the strongest, themselves looking to lock up a home tie in the playoffs, both teams coming in at 3rd and 4th respectively.

Charlotte would create a quick 1-2 on the edge of the box in the second minute, only for a shot inside the box to be blocked by the Battery defense and away.

A Charlotte free kick in the ninth minute was headed away and dealt with well by the defense.

And then, Enzo Martinez made an angled run into the box after another good bit of build up, and would’ve been clean through, but the flag would go up for offside

A 1-2 on the other side on 18′ by Quinton Griffith and Maikel Chang ended up looking for Guerra at the top of the box, but he was given offside.

A deep cross on the right for Charlotte looked for Enzo Martinez at the back post shortly after, but his looping header drifted wide.

On 24′, A dangerous cross from the right was cleared for a Battery corner, which eventually came to nothing.

Charlotte would have a corner of their own three minutes later, but the Battery defense would clear away.

On 31′ Attaula Guerra went looking for Heviel Cordoves, but he was adjudged to be offside before a chance could be created.

On 32′, Forrest Lasso would misplay a cross from the right which fell invitingly for a Charlotte attacker before a shot was blocked down by Taylor Mueller. Players for the home side were appealing for a handball, but the referee was unmoved by the protests.

Then, on 36′, came the breakthrough. Justin Portillo would find Heviel Cordoves, who used great one touch passing to link up with Maikel Chang. He then would find Kotaro Higashi before the midfielder, recently awarded newcomer of the year, would find Attaulla Guerra in stride, who would loop the ball over the onrushing Cody Mizell in the Charlotte goal and in off the post to give the Battery the lead.

This, however, would mean that the home side would pile on even more pressure, which nearly told a minute later.

A cross from the right found Jorge Herrera, whose shot full on the volley was saved point blank by Odisnel Cooper. The ball would wriggle out for a corner, though it was cleared away.

Cooper was again forced into action on 41′, when a free kick was given away on the edge of the box, and Herrera was again denied , this time from long range.

And so the Battery went in at half time 1-0 up after having been very clinical with their chances. They soaked up pressure in that first half, and had a few chances on the counter, but it was only that Guerra chance that made the defense worried, and they scored from it.

A ball was played inside on the edge of the box on the other side of the break, before Forrest Lasso would use his body to shield an attacker off the ball and out of play. The attacker then took offense to contact off the ball from the center back and there was a little bit of handbags as the two players settled their differences, but the referee did well to de-escalate the situation.

A Charlotte free kick on the left ten minutes into the second half looked to have looped over everyone, and if not for Odisnel Cooper applying some more acrobatics to palm the ball onto the crossbar, the score very easily could’ve been level. The ball would clatter off the woodwork and somehow stay in play before a Charlotte attacker would be given offside.

On 56′, Quinton Griffith would intercept a pass and run at the home side’s defense before picking up his head and trying to play Chang in the middle. Chang would miscontrol just slightly as the ball was behind him, but it would eventually pop out to Guerra, who would try to curl a shot wide.

On the hour mark, a counter for the hosts led to a ball flat across the 18 yard box to substitute Caleb Calvert, whose shot was saved by Cooper

Three minutes later, another good bit of 1-2 play from Charlotte beat the defense all ends up and left Enzo Martinez in on goal for a tidy finish, but it would be given as offside.

On 65′ came the arrival of Romario Williams, with an eye on running at tired defensive legs with his pace and perhaps realizing that the hosts had begun to turn the screw a little bit more since coming out in the second half.

On 72, Taylor Mueller was booked after giving away a foul in a dangerous area for the Battery, but the set piece would be blocked away.

Forrest Lasso nearly paid for the mistake of clearing the ball right into the path of Lewis Hilton on 77′, but his shot went wide of the target.

On 81′, the Battery would force a corner that would only be punched away by the ‘keeper. The second ball would eventually lead to another corner, which was cleared at the top of the box before a shot was taken by Chang and seemed to catch a defender on the arm, but the referee wasn’t impressed and played on. A foul by Justin Portillo on the edge of the Charlotte box prevented a counter, but also meant that Portillo found himself in the referee’s notebook.

All hands were to the pump for Charlotte as we got closer to full time, and a shot with four minutes to go was blocked by Forrest Lasso for a corner, which led to naught.

Lewis Hilton almost struck a blow to Battery hearts when, on the 89’, Odisnel Cooper was again forced into a great save from close range off a header, and the ensuing corner was cleared.

Four minutes stoppage time was added as the Battery continued to look to hold on, but wouldn’t make it easy for themselves, giving away a rather needless free kick with two minutes to go, though Charlotte were kept at bay.

And with that, the final whistle would eventually blow. The win meant that the Battery would lock up the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference, and earn the right to play a home match on Saturday, October 21st. With the win, the Battery are 2017 winners of the Southern Derby Cup, and have completed a sweep of Charlotte in this season’s three matches.

At time of writing, the opponent is still To Be Determined, but kick off is scheduled for 7PM. You can watch it on MyTV Charleston, or on the club’s website.

FEATURED IMAGE: ATTAULA GUERRA (PICTURED LEFT) SCORED THE WINNING GOAL AS THE BATTERY SECURED SECOND PLACE IN THE EAST WITH A WIN OVER CHARLOTTE ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTO

 

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 pegged back against Orlando despite late equalizer

A late winner from Lewis Neal condemned the Battery to a loss against Orlando City B on Saturday evening despite levelling late through Heviel Cordoves.

The Battery were without Forrest Lasso through suspension, but gained Obi Woodbine and Quinton Griffith back from injury, and Romario Williams returned from his own suspension, meaning he was eligible to partner Attaula Guerra up front.

On the 6th minute, the Battery could’ve put themselves in front early when a corner flashed across the face with nobody able to turn it home.

An OCB corner of their own went away for a throw before being eventually cleared from danger by the Battery back line.

The game lulled a bit in an attacking sense, until on 28, the Battery looked to have pulled in front, when Quinton Griffith’s pinpoint cross found top scorer Romario Williams, who dispatched a header into the bottom corner, only to be called offside.

And then, from just about the next attack, with just over half an hour gone, the deadlock was broken. However, it was the home side that got the opener. Pierre DaSilva found himself in acres of space with no one around him to pressure him, and he decided to take a shot from all of 25 yards that found its way in off the woodwork at the far post.

And so, despite the relative sleepiness from the first half, the Battery found themselves behind. After picking up two wins in their previous two games, they would have to dig deep if they wanted anything out of this one.

But it almost got worse before it could get better. On 38′ A loose ball back from Taylor Mueller meant for Odisnel Cooper in goal was intercepted by Hadji Berry, but Skylar Thomas would come across and clear for a corner, which Orlando couldn’t capitalize on.

But just before halftime, Maikel Chang would lead a counter down the right for the visitors, only for the ball to go safely into the Orlando goalkeeper’s arms before it would go the other way and force Cooper into a save at the other end to force a corner, which the Battery defended well.

And that was how the first half ended. The Battery were behind, and would need to come out with a bit more impetuous in the second 45.

And they answered the challenge, creating no less than three chances in the first five minutes of the second half.

First, on 46′, a near perfect ball from Chang would find Romario Williams with a 1-on-1 with the ‘keeper, only to miscontrol the bouncing ball and be forced into an extra touch, which gave the ‘keeper time to smother the eventual shot.

Two minutes later, Williams would power himself to the byline at the far edge of the box before powering a ball in, but it was too early for the onrushing Nico Rittmeyer, who got his first league start tonight, to turn home.

And then, with 50 minutes gone, a Battery free kick would be played into Romario Williams on the ground, who turned well and again got himself to the byline with a similar ball from the opposite side before it would be cleared away.

Williams would then force the goalkeeper into a kick save shortly after, when his shot from the right looked to go across the goal, the ball went out for a corner, but it was cleared.

An Orlando cross found  Hadji Berry on 54′, and Cooper would save well and turn it away for a corner, which was cleared.

On 58′, the goalscorer for the home side, DaSilva, would curl a free kick around the wall and force a really good save for Cooper, which went out for a corner. The defense would then clear.

With an hour gone, Cooper would collect a free kick and lump the ball forward toward Williams, who would win the second ball and create space for himself, but lose his footing before he could fashion a chance.

Heviel Cordoves would replace Attaula Guerra for the Battery on 63′, and with three goals in two games, Cordoves was brought on to add a bit of a spark while he was riding a bit of a wave of confidence.

With just about 20 minutes left, Tah Brian Anunga would win a challenge high up the field and the ball would roll into the path of Maikel Chang, whose effort toward the top left corner was saved by the goalkeeper.

Kotaro Higashi would replace Nico Rittmeyer shortly after, another coming on to add a bit more attacking ability after putting in a good shift in Wednesday’s game against Charlotte.

On 75′, a Battery corner was wafted in at the back post for Skylar Thomas, and his header looked destined for the net before seemingly being palmed over the bar, though the referee would give a goal kick.

But with ten minutes left, the Battery would make their pressure tell. the build up down the right came from Maikel Chang, who would pass to Quinton Griffith. The right back would play the ball into the box low and hard, which fell to the substitute Cordoves, who controlled and let the ball spin off his foot on the turn to create space before firing into the back of the net.

The goal was deserved with the pressure the visitors had put their opponents under, but they would have to stay composed if they were to keep things all square.

But on 83′ came a scare for the Battery, when a good ball forward found Micheal Cox, who went at Mueller in defense and got around him before shooting toward the far post, but would see his effort go just wide.

But on 86′, the Battery would fail to clear a Orlando corner, which was bouncing around in the box, and forced on goal from an attacker, and Odisnel Cooper would spill the ball into the back of the net.

It was unlucky for the visitors, who forced themselves back into the game with so little time left, and also unlucky for Cooper especially, who had made a number of saves to keep his team in it at 1-0, but it was an error nonetheless, and this time with much less time to produce an opportunity to find a way back again

And that was how the game ended. The Battery dropping points despite a spirited performance.

The Battery next travel to Ottawa on October 1st. Kickoff is scheduled for 1PM, and you can watch it on MyTV Charleston, or stream it on the club’s website.

TOP IMAGE: HEVIEL CORDOVES (PICTURED) WOULD SCORE HIS FOURTH IN THREE GAMES IN A LOSS IN ORLANDO CREDIT ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY.

 

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