The Charleston Battery were left to regret missed opportunities in Saturday evening’s loss to the Richmond Kickers.
Away from home, it was always going to be a tough game, and with the low-point of going out of the Cup in a midweek loss to Atlanta United, the Battery looked to get back to winning ways against their age-old rival.
Off the back of the loss, coach Mike Anhaeuser took the chance to bring in some fresh faces to the team, giving a debut to Leland Archer at center back in place of Skylar Thomas, while Attaula Guerra didn’t feature in the 18, and Patrick Okonkwo slotted in up front.
The Battery began well, creating a chance from a free kick when Gordon Wild found debutant Leland Archer in the middle, who headed on target but could only force a save from the ‘keeper.
Neveal Hackshaw would go on a marauding run down the flank and cross in toward Patrick Okonkwo in the middle, but again, the ‘keeper would save.
The two combined again just a short while later, with Okonkwo this time applying more power to the effort, but it went high and wide.
Former Battery striker Heviel Cordoves would fashion a chance for Richmond shortly before the half hour mark, when a slip from Hackshaw allowed a counter after a slip that eventually fell to the attacker from a cross on the right, but Cordoves would shoot high.
Cordoves would again have a chance after 36’, when Jarad Van Schaik‘s sloppy pass gave the ball away in midfield, and the build up would fall to Cordoves, but he would put the chance over the bar.
A Battery corner three minutes later was cleared, and the counter began for the home side, eventually forcing Joe Kuzminski in the Battery goal into a smart save.
Brian Shriver for the home side would shoot over the bar after 41 minutes, but it looked as if the home side had begun to turn the screw a little bit in the latter stages of the first half.
Taylor Mueller was then forced into a crucial block from a shot on the left on the inside of the box as the ball was cleared.
Things got a little bit worse for the Battery as they would have to replace Vincenzo Candela, who’s partnered Tah Brian Anunga well in the middle of the park this year, to an apparent thigh issue. Ryan Arambula would come in just before the half time whistle blew.
The early goings of the second 45 yielded another chance for the visitors, when another Hackshaw cross fell to Gordon Wild, but he would put too much power as the effort sailed wide.
Shortly after, Joe Kuzminski would be forced to intervene as a 1-2 on the edge of the box nearly led Alex Lee in on goal for Richmond, but the ‘keeper would collect and the chance was gone.
But then, with 62 minutes gone, Jay Bolt would give away a foul on the edge of the box after Yudai Imura looked to beat him for pace. The whistle seemed a bit harsh as the player did beat Bolt before losing his footing, but the referee adjudged that the contact to the attacker’s leg was enough to warrant a set piece.
The ball was swung in, and it was Cordoves that rose highest to put Richmond in front. He didn’t celebrate as a mark of respect for his former club, but the Battery were down 1-0.
The visitors did have a chance to equalize from a corner just a few seconds after the restart, but Cordoves was able to put in work at the other end to deny the Battery the chance to get on the end of the Arambula service.
Tah Brian Anunga would then shoot from a tight angle on 69′, probably the best he could do as he was running out of room on the right, but it went wide.
A Jay Bolt cross from the right found substitute Ian Svantesson in the middle of the box, but he wasn’t able to generate power in the header as it went straight to the goalkeeper.
And then, late on, as the Battery were pressing men forward for the equalizer, the Kickers would capitalize on a counter, when Dane Kelly would combine with Cordoves, who would then find Luiz Fernando at the top of the box, who would beat his man and slot past Kuzminski for the second goal.
Late on, that seemed to be it for the visitors, who were asking questions of the Richmond defense late on, but, in looking for the equalizer, found themselves susceptible to that killer goal off the counter.
And that’s the way it ended. The Battery suffering defeat to their rivals. It was always going to be a tough one, and the Battery will know that they needed to convert their chances if they wanted anything out of the game.
The next match is next Saturday, July 16th, against the Charlotte Indepenedence.
TOP IMAGE: JARAD VAN SCHAIK FIGHTS FOR THE BALL IN A PREVIOUS MEETING BETWEEN THE CLUBS. ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTO.