It was a night to forget as Charleston Battery fell to FC Motreal, despite perhaps looking the better side for large stretches of the match. Despite this, there were mistakes in various areas for the home side, and Montreal were definitely the more clinical, and hit the Black and Yellow where it hurt.
The Battery looked to be the one fastest out of the gates when Attaulah Guerra played Romario Williams through just outside the box after a decent run through the midfield, but the striker couldn’t hold his run and was given offside.
Guerra then was played in himself after some decent work by Zach Prince on the wing, but his shot was high over the bar from range.
After 17 minutes, another piece of good work by Quinton Griffith led to a corner after his cross was cleared, but it was cut out by Max Crepeaux in goal for Montreal, who started the counter, which the visitors were dangerous from the whole evening, and it led to a chance for them, but t went wide of Odisnel Cooper‘s goal and out.
On 20’, a Zach Prince cross was cleared for a Battery corner, which was given to specialist Obi Woodbine, and put into a dangerous area. Despite this, the referee’s whistle blew for a foul throw, as his foot wasn’t touching the ground when the throw was taken, and possession went to the away side.
Montreal had a chance from a corner four minutes later, but the ball was cleared, though only for Montreal to reset, which finally fizzled out and was cleared.
There was then a hydration break a few minutes later after a player was down. The hydration break is mandatory when the temperature on the field is at 86.9 degrees or higher, and usually occurs around the 35th minute, but the stoppage in play gave the players for both sides an opportunity to take on some fluids.
A defensive error led to what was perhaps the best chance of the opening half for the home side. A misplaced header led to a chance for Romario Williams, but his shot at the near post was sad by Max Crepeaux, who pushed the ball away from danger as well and the ball was eventually cleared.
And the ‘keeper’s heroics paid dividends as on 39’, Anthony Jackson-Hamel was on the end of some great buildup play by the visitors, as he received a cheeky little backheel inside the box which left Odisnel Cooper stranded, and Montreal went up 1-0.
And that’s how the sides went in at the break. The Battery were wasteful in the second half, and it was something that they’d have to put right in order to get anything from the match.
And they started well, as a 47th minute corner was cleared, but reset and crossed in for another, which went across the face of goal and after misplayed attempts to cross fell to Justin Portillo, but his shot from the edge of the box was saved.
And then, on 51′ a Montreal corner was cleared, and it was time for the Battery to utilize the counter. It was led by Romario Williams, who had Ricky Garbanzo to his left and played him in. Garbanzo’s first touch was decent, but though the ball looked to have nestled in the back of the net, it hit the side netting and went behind for a goal kick.
Garbanzo then was replaced by Jeffrey Otoo, on loan from Atlanta United, making his USL debut. With his first meaningful touch just before the hour mark, he played Maikel Chang down the line and in on goal, and forced Crepeaux into another save, who at this point was keeping his side in the game, while Chang met his own rebound and hit the post.
And missed chances again would haunt the Battery, but this time it was solely down to an error. On 64 The ball was played out of the back toward Griffith, who then looked to switch cross field toward his opposite number, Obi Woodbine. But the ball was read the entire way by a Montreal midfielder, Tabla, who picked his spot into the bottom corner to double the visitors’ lead.
It was shortly after this that the Battery threw on Heviel Cordoves, who’s made somewhat of a living being the Battery’s “Super-Sub”, and his presence was no doubt required if the home side were going to get anything from the game.
A succession of corners with about 20 minutes to go almost gave the Battery a lifeline, but Shawn Ferguson had one saved, and it clipped the bar on the way over, while the following corner was saved off the line after Forrest Lasso jumped to meet it. It was not for the want of trying for the home side, but the luck just wasn’t there at that point.
Until they finally got a lifeline in the 78th minute. Second half sub Dante Marini whipped the ball in toward the back post, which left Crepeaux scrambling as it curled toward goal. The save he made left him on the ground, and Maikel Chang picked up the pieces, giving him a tap in to reduce arrears and giving the Battery a lifeline.
The Battery would then throw the old kitchen sink at Montreal in hopes of the equalizer, Heviel Cordoves’ shot on 83 looking dangerous but lacking power as it rolled into the ‘keepers arms.
But the game was put to bed with 4 minutes left, the ball not properly cleared after a good cross into the Battey box, and after a scramble, it was Louis Beland Goyette sealing the points away from home for Montreal.
In the end, it was disheartening for the Battery, who had played well in some stretches, but paid the price for some complacency when it came to the final third.
Despite this, they’ll have to dust themselves off quickly with a trip to Richmond their next match on Wednesday, August 17th. Kick off is at 7PM
TOP IMAGE: QUINTON GRIFFITH FIGHTS FOR A BALL ON THE WING IN THE FIRST HALF. PHOTO CREDIT: ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY