Battery, Pittsburgh split points in war of attrition
It was a frustrating night for all involved as the Charleston Battery were forced to share the spoils with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds Saturday.
In a game where real chances were at a premium, neither team seemed to have their shooting boots on to try and swing the game in their favor, not really helping either team in the race to keep up with a tight knit Eastern Conference. A win would’ve put the Battery above Pittsburgh, while the away team looked to continue a decent run that had them in a promising position heading into what may be a crucial month of July.
The Battery returned home after a long road trip that didn’t go particularly well, and knew that they probably needed a little more out of this game with another two tough away fixtures coming up before finally playing at home again in mid July. The lopsided schedule hasn’t helped the Black and Yellow in the slightest, and they would’ve gone in hoping that a bit of home comfort would come as a welcome boost.
Leland Archer was given his home debut at the back, partnering Skylar Thomas and Neveal Hackshaw as the three center backs, and they were called into action early as Romeo Parkes would intercept a pass high up the pitch and try and find an angle at which to trouble Joe Kuzminski in goal, but Hackshaw did well to atone for the error and stayed tight to his man to force an early shot that went wide.
A dangerous ball across from the right nearly fell to the outstretched Attaula Guerra on 16′, but there was too much pace on the ball for the team’s top scorer to get a touch to redirect the ball on goal.
Guerra was at it again shortly after the half hour mark, when he peeled off his marker having received the ball and found himself cutting in on his right before shooting with the left foot. The ball went agonizingly wide and hit the back of the goal, fooling many in the stadium into believing it had crept in, but we were indeed still scoreless.
Pittsburgh began to settle shortly after, as Jordan Dover’s cross toward teammate Christiano Francois had the Battery defense scrambling before it went out of play.
And that’s how the half ended. With Guerra and the Battery perhaps having the best chances of the first 45, but neither able to find a way to break the deadlock.
The second half started as the first ended, a Pittsburgh corner coming early on which was cleared, the recycled ball away leading to a shot from distance over the bar.
In the 55th came another great chance, albeit from unlikely distance as a free kick given from all of 35 yards was taken by Gordon Wild, who perhaps tried to catch the keeper unaware with a pop at goal that was as equally well hit as it was inventive, but it would only rattle the cross bar and come back down in front of the line, and was cleared out for a corner that was dealt with by the visitors’ defense.
10 minutes later, Kuzminski was forced into a smart save off a header destined for the bottom corner from a Pittsburgh corner, but he was able to turn the ball around the post, and the set piece that followed was cleared.
Kenardo Forbes would hit a free kick on 66′ that looked dangerous on the edge of the box, but his effort was high and wide, though the momentum had begun to swing back toward the visitors.
A dangerous attack with 15 minutes to go led to a Pittsburgh corner, but it was cleared away by the home side as we headed to the final stretches of the match.
Substitute Jay Bolt won his team a corner after some good work to find space on the wing, with his cross being blocked behind, but Gordon Wild’s ensuing set piece was aimed toward the back post and went through everyone.
It was another substitute who came close in the last minute of normal time, when Nico Rittmeyer took the ball down on his chest and continued a bombing run forward before playing the ball across the box in search of a man to turn it home, but he was unable to find anyone as it went through the penalty area and was eventually cleared.
And that’s the way it finished. It was a somewhat underwhelming performance from both sides, in a game you felt needed a goal to really get going. It didn’t find one, and so the spoils were shared. Pittsbutgh had to be the happiest of the two sides, knowing that this was the Battery’s chance to get back on the horse before hitting the road once more next week.
That game is on Sunday, July 1st as the Black and Yellow travel to Toronto FC II. Kick off is scheduled for 8PM and is available to watch on MyTV Charleston and ESPN+
TOP IMAGE: ATTAULA GUERRA’S FIRST HALF SHOT GOES AGONIZINGLY WIDE AS PLAYERS AND SPECTATORS ALIKE LOOK ON. PHOTO CREDIT ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY
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