CHARLESTON, S.C. – A pair of first-half goals by Luiz Fernando and Jeremy Kelly paved the way as Memphis 901 FC took a 2-0 victory against the Charleston Battery on Friday night at Patriots Point, sending the visitors back into the win column despite ending the game down to 10 players.
The visitors opened on the front foot and Kelly had a pair of early shots saved by Charleston goalkeeper Hugo Fauroux. Memphis’ Laurent Kissiedou then almost delivered a candidate for goal of the year as he picked up possession in the center circle, saw Fauroux well off his line, and launched a shot that hit the crossbar that allowed the Battery goalkeeper to recover. 901 FC hit the crossbar again in the 25th minute when Niall Logue’s header off a corner kick from the left by Aaron Molloy looped onto the woodwork, but seven minutes later the pressure from the visitors finally told as Leston Paul overlapped into the left side of the penalty area to receive a pass from Kelly and crossed low to the back post where Fernando slid home to finish.
Memphis could have added another in the 38th minute when Phillip Goodrum became the third visitor to hit the crossbar in the first header with a flicked header off a corner from the right by Fernando, and Logue redirected a follow-up shot by Graham Smith over in the aftermath. 901 FC got its second goal of the night two minutes later, however, when Rece Buckmaster was played into space on the right and centered for a simple finish for Kelly at the near post.
901 FC continued to create the better looks on goal as the second half began, and 10 minutes after the resumption Molloy curled a free kick just wide of the right post from 25 yards out. Kissiedou was then denied by a good save from Fauroux six minutes later before the Battery had a powerful long-range effort by EJ Johnson go wide of the right post in the 67th minute. Memphis was reduced to 10 men with nine minutes to go when Logue was sent off for his second yellow card of the game, and Charleston almost took advantage shortly after when Geobel Perez Jr. forced a fingertip save by 901 FC goalkeeper Drew Romig to keep a two-goal margin. The hosts went close again with two minutes remaining when Johnson lifted a finish just over the crossbar, but Memphis held firm to earn all three points and move into fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings.
USLChampionship.com Player of the Match
Jeremy Kelly, Memphis 901 FC – Kelly played a role in both goals, scoring the second, and finished the night with five shots and three chances created while completing 24 of 31 passes and winning 5 of 7 duels.
MEM – Luiz Fernando (Leston Paul) 32’
MEM – Jeremy Kelly (Rece Buckmaster) 40’