CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Charleston Battery grabbed an early lead and then held on late to take a 3-1 victory against the LA Galaxy II on Wednesday night at Patriots Point to stall Los Dos’ drive to the postseason in only the second meeting between the clubs in their respective histories.
The Battery took only 82 seconds to take the lead as Stavros Zarokostas retained a pass up the right flank as he navigated past a defender and then delivered a precise ball through the six-yard area for Geobel Perez to finish at the back post. The hosts threatened again 15 minutes later as Zarokostas controlled a pass at the top of the penalty area and quickly fired on target, but Los Dos goalkeeper Justin vom Steeg made the save.
The Galaxy II’s first good look came in the 23rd minute when Jorge Hernandez dribbled past one defender and slipped a pass to Daniel Aguirre in the left side of the penalty area that the midfielder struck first time only for Battery goalkeeper Joe Kuzminsky to make the save. The visitors went close again nine minutes before halftime as Jonathan Perez held off a defender as he moved into the right side of the penalty area but flashed a shot just wide of the far post.
Charleston had a chance to add to its lead in first-half stoppage time when Angelo Kelly fired a shot from the right side of the penalty area that was parried wide of the near post by Vom Steeg, while six minutes into the second half the visitors had a good chance of their own as Preston Judd broke onto a pass by Aguirre into the left side of the penalty area but hooked his first-time shot wide of the right post.
Los Dos pulled even with 19 minutes to go, however, as Aguirre played a ball wide to Josh Drack on the left from midfield and then drove toward the penalty area. Drack’s low cross was controlled in the penalty area by Judd, and faced by two players the forward slipped a pass to his left as Aguirre arrived in the penalty area to shoot just past Kuzminsky into the right side of the net.
Just as quickly, the Battery regained the lead a minute later when Robbie Crawford played Temi Adesodun on an overlap on the left side where the winger delivered a first-time cross that picked out Romario Piggott in the center for a header to the right side of the net. With 15 minutes to go the Battery almost added another as Zeiko Lewis fired a low shot to the bottom-left corner of the net that was just turned away by Vom Steeg.
The Galaxy II had a pair of chances to pull back level in quick succession a few minutes later as first Judd beat the offside trap and broke into the right side of the penalty area before centering for Perez, whose shot was blocked by covering Battery defender Patrick Hogan. The attack continued, and Charleston’s Logan Gdula came up with another pair of key blocks on the line to keep out Judd and Hernandez, the second of which sent the ball into the grateful arms of Kuzminsky to end the threat.
The Battery added their third of the night with a minute to go to put the game away, however, as Lewis opened up to receive a pass by Joel Bunting after the first-year pro had driven forward into the right side of the penalty area, allowing the Bermuda international to slide a low finish into the left corner of the net and close out the night for the hosts.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Logan Gdula, Charleston Battery – Gdula’s pair of goal line clearances with just over 10 minutes to go proved crucial to the hosts holding on, and he finished the night having completed 47 of 55 passes and made eight recoveries.
CHS – Geobel Perez (Stavros Zarokostas) 2’
LA – Daniel Aguirre (Preston Judd) 71’
CHS – Romario Piggott (Temi Adesodun) 72’
CHS – Zeiko Lewis (Joel Bunting) 89