The Charleston Battery were left with little to write home about as they were beaten by a scoreline of 3-1 away at Atlanta United 2 on Wednesday.
The Battery were coming off a tough loss away to Pittsburgh at the weekend, and forced to play another one of the delayed games from July. It was the hosts who opened the scoring. Luis Fernando finishing well with a deft chip over Joe Kuzminsky early.
Nico Rittmeyer would equalize midway through the first half, before Andrew Carleton and Jack Metcalf would eventually separate the two teams with goals in the second 45.
Fernando’s opening goal was in fact the first chance of the game for either side after nine minutes, latching on to a well won tackle in midfield before taking space with defenders backing off, beating his marker with a stepover and finishing ahead of the onrushing Obi Woodbine and with Joe Kuzminsky off his line.
It was the worst possible start for the Battery, who were in desperate need of a win, and behind before they could find their feet in the game. Though there was a long way to go, and the visitors would have to keep their heads up.
And that they did. After 26′, following a more controlled and patient passage of play from both sides, Nico Rittmeyer would control a bouncing ball that dropped into no man’s land from deep and finish first time to level the scoring.
The Battery were back in the game, and they would hope that it was a sign that they could come from behind in games, having let the feeling of conceding late get the better of them in recent weeks.
Angelo Kelly would receive a yellow card for a foul on the edge of the Atlanta penalty area with half an hour gone, which meant Kevin Kratz would be at the controls. His shot went around the wall low, and had Kuzminsky scrambling, but ultimately, the shot went wide.
Kratz would step up again just two minutes later with a free kick from a similar position, but this time he would force a save out of Kuzminsky in the middle of his goal.
Just before half time, a well timed run from George Bello would see him cross the ball from the left into the box for Jackson Conway, but Kuzminsky was there to intercept with a catch.
And that was how the first half ended. Both teams had their chances, and had a goal to show for it, but the Battery would have to be sharper in attack in the second 45 to get anything from the game.
Atlanta made a half time substitution, bringing on Andrew Carleton, the former Battery loanee, with the purpose of doing a better job to link the defense and attack for his side, and it took him only three minutes to do just that.
Goalscorer Luis Fernando would maraud down the left hand side on 48, getting to the byline and sucking in the goalkeeper at the near post, before finding Carleton alone at the top of the box, who would supply the cool first time finish into an open goal to put his team back in front.
It was a disastrous start to the second half for the Battery, but they had conceded early to start the game, and it only took a second to score a goal.
Atlanta earned a free kick which was played into the box from the right after 54′ . It was headed on goal but deflected and cleared by Kyle Nelson, and the chance was gone.
A Battery corner four minutes later would look like it would cause trouble, but it would be cleared out of danger before anything came of it.
And then, with just over 15 minutes left, George Bello made his way into the box, in build up eerily similar to the go-ahead goal, but this time Nico Rittmeyer was there to track back. However, Bello would go down under a dangling leg challenge, and the referee would point to the spot, awarding Atlanta a penalty.
Jack Metcalf would step up to take, and though Kuzminsky got a hand to the effort, it would nestle into the bottom corner, putting Metcalf’s side up 3-1.
The Battery heads did drop at that stage, with so little time left in the match. Following three minutes at the end of the 90′, the final whistle blew, and the Battery would come up empty.
The match makes it five away games without a win for the Black and Yellow, which is not the form of a team in search of a playoff spot, which the Battery would have moved into with even a draw on goal difference in front of Birmingham Legion.
Results elsewhere also didn’t go the Battery’s way, with ninth placed St. Louis picking up all three points against New York Red Bulls tonight to give themselves cushion ahead of the two teams below.
They’ll have to recharge quickly ahead of another tough game against rivals North Carolina FC. The match is a return home after three straight away games, and is scheduled for Sunday, September 22nd, at 2PM.
FEATURED IMAGE: ANDREW CARLETON, WHOSE GO AHEAD GOAL PROVED THE DIFFERENCE, AT MUSC HEALTH STADIUM IN 2018. COURTESY ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY AND DESIGN