It was a match that could’ve easily went the other way, but the Battery just couldn’t take their chances, allowing the Rochester Rhinos to overturn a Justin Portillo penalty in the first half to come back and win.
Rochester had the first sniff of the game, but only turning it into a half chance when an early corner was flicked on at the near post across the face of goal, only to squirm all the way through the box and be cleared away from danger.
The Battery’s first meaningful attack led to a penalty just after a quarter of an hour when Quinton Griffith got a cross into the box which didn’t get into any dangerous areas, but only because his marker handled the ball. The referee took a beat to think about the decision, and then pointed to the spot, and it was Portillo who slotted home coolly from 12 yards.
A Rochester corner in the 19th was cleared out after causing a little bit of trouble, but the away side were threatening to find their way back in to the match the more it wore on.
But things could’ve been different, when Quinton Griffith got himself free again on the flank and picked out Ricky Garbanzo, who tried to aim the header down and make it hard for the ‘keeper, but the effort lacked purchase and went straight into his arms. As such, the Battery knew they should have been two up, and it would come back to haunt them.
Two minutes later, the away side countered and drove through midfield, committing numbers to the attack, when Christian Volesky found himself in the box with the ball at his feet, and he would turn his defender and smash home for the equalizer.
While somewhat unlucky, the Battery needed to be better at converting their chances if they were going to get anything from the game, knowing that Rochester have one of the best defenses in the entire league, winning the championship last year where the backline carried the load.
Though shortly after, Quinton Griffith would continue his good night, cutting in and sending a cutting pass that was dummied and eventually found the other full back Obi Woodbine, who kept his composure when faced by the goalkeeper and stuck the ball home. However, the flag went up for offside, and the goal was ruled out.
And that’s the way the teams went in at the break. 1-1 was probably a fair scoreline, but it could’ve also been said that the Battery were slightly the better team, and just weren’t ruthless enough.
The Battery could’ve had a go-ahead goal almost straight out of the break, when a clearance from a Battery corner fell to the foot of Woodbine, and almost like the goal he scored in Charlotte a few weeks ago, he ripped one from long range. This time though, it cracked the underside of the crossbar and was cleared long.
And just a moment later, the Battery forced another corner, this time from the right, which was played in and flicked on, but just beyond the diving Shawn Ferguson, but the Battery Captain couldn’t make contact as the ball just alluded his outstretched leg.
The next chance came way of Rhinos goalscorer Valesky, who received the ball in the box on 56, and slotted the ball along the ground for what looked to be a certain goal, but somehow Alex Tambakis stayed big and got down to the effort to keep it out.
Valesky would then latch onto a through ball from midfield on the hour mark, leaving him one on one with Tambakis, but the striker would sky his effort.
Then soon after, the Battery had their chance, with Heviel Cordoves getting through on goal himself, but as he looked for an angle to shoot, he gave the ‘keeper too much time to close him down, and he made the striker panic as he shot, which the goalkeeper parried away.
Maikel Chang would find Dante Marini in the box on 72′, but the winger would lean back as he took the effort and push the ball just wide.
And the Battery would pay for not showing their ruthless streak, as on 82′, A ball played around the box would force Tambakis into a great double save, but the ball refused to get clear and fell to a Rochester foot, and somehow, after making that miraculous double save, the ball would somehow find its way under the goalkeeper and into the net, giving Rochester a late lead.
And despite a late push from the Battery, that’s how things would end. The hopes of gaining third place, and more home games in the playoffs, are dwindling for the Battery. Richmond are idle this weekend, and even a point, which would’ve drawn them level in the standings, would’ve been a degree of success for the Black and Yellow, but it was not to be.
The Battery travel to Montreal next for a midweek tie against FC Montreal on Wednesday, September 7th. Please be aware of the early kickoff, which is at 2:00PM.
TOP IMAGE: THE SCOREBOARD SHOWS THE TWO TEAMS BEFORE KICK OFF ON A SATURDAY EVENING OF FRUSTRATION FOR THE BATTERY. ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTO.