Photo courtesy Zach Bland / Charleston Battery
CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Charleston Battery struck moments before halftime to take a second consecutive victory on a 1-0 win against the Tampa Bay Rowdies on Saturday night at MUSC Health Stadium. The Battery went close to an early goal as a corner from the right got knocked back across goal by Skylar Thomas, and a chance fell to Nico Rittmeyer near the right post that was blocked away by the Rowdies defense. Tampa Bay also had a pair of first-half chances from set pieces that fell to Hunter Gorskie as the center back was unable to redirect either opportunity on target, but Charleston took the lead just before the halftime break as Guerra fired a low shot from the top of the penalty area home in first-half stoppage time. The Battery went close to adding to their lead on the hour-mark when Tah Anunga curled a shot just wide of the right post off a half-cleared corner kick, but while the Rowdies tried to get back into the game as time ticked down as both Marcel Schäfer and Junior Flemmings had shots blocked and Neill Collins had a header from a corner kick saved by Battery goalkeeper Joe Kuzminski inside the final 10 minutes, Charleston held firm for their second victory of the week to mark their return home with a win.
45+1’ – CHS – Ataulla Guerra (Neveal Hackshaw)
Three Things That Matter:
1. The Battery edged out a tight contest thanks to Ataulla Guerra’s finish, but in the end, it was the club’s defense putting in a solid shift late that shepherded the side to an important victory against one of its bigger rivals in the Eastern Conference. The Battery’s defense limited a potent Rowdies attack to only two shots on target overall, the second coming in one final push for the visitors as Tampa Bay defender Neill Collins’ header was saved.
2. The Rowdies appeared to have turned a corner with a road victory to open the new season against North Carolina FC, but the side has now lost three consecutive games away from home after a night when the breaks wouldn’t quite fall their way. The split between the Rowdies home and away form a season ago was one of the widest among the contenders for USL Cup, and Head Coach Stuart Campbell needs to try and find a way to solve a problem that is currently holding his side back.
3. After Tuesday night’s victory against ATL UTD 2 saw the Battery hold less than one-quarter of the ball, the side produced a far more measured performance in possession back on home turf on Saturday night to sit even with one of the better passing sides in the league. As it opens a five-game home stand, the Battery will be hopeful Saturday’s result is a harbinger of things to come as it looks to make a move on the teams above it in the Eastern Conference.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Kotaro Higashi, Charleston Battery – Higashi was dangerous, recording three key passes, and was solid on the ball as he moved into the attacking third to combine well with goal-scorer Ataulla Guerra.
Charleston Battery vs. Charlotte Independence – May 5, 7 p.m. ET, MUSC Health Stadium
Tampa Bay Rowdies at Penn FC – May 4, 7 p.m. ET, FNB Field