The Charleston Battery further tightened their grip on second place in Group H Wednesday night, beating The Miami FC by a score of 3-1.
With tonight’s game being their ninth of the campaign, the midweek matchup with Miami officially started the second half of their USL Championship season. With their position in second place in the group in hand, the meeting with USL new boys Miami was an interesting one, with the team just off its first win of the year behind former Black and Yellow striker Romario Williams.
Having come in off the back of two straight wins in which they scored three goals each, the Battery looked to build on their good form in front of their fans, and they got off to a pretty quick start.
Leading goalscorer Zeiko Lewis created the Battery’s first chance after seven minutes, getting on the end of a long ball on the right and creating space for himself with a little stop and go against his defender, getting the ball back onto his right before sending a cross in for Mauro Cichero in the middle, but the ball was hit with just a little bit too much pace as it went behind for a goal kick.
On 14′, a ball pulled back from the left would lead to a Cichero cross that would find Logan Gdula making his way forward, but his header would go over the bar.
A throw in laid off by Arthur Bosua after 25′ would fall into the path of Romario Piggott, who drove into the box and aim a shot for the far post, but Bryant Gammiero in the Miami goal would be equal to the effort.
Two minutes later, Zeiko Lewis looked to stretch the defense again, streaking free on the right before teeing up Robbie Crawford, but his side footed effort from the edge of the box went over the bar.
And on 28′, it was a Crawford corner that was headed away that created the breakthrough. AJ Paterson sent it back into the danger zone low before it found the feet of Logan Gdula, who turned and fired a powerful effort into the back of the net off the crossbar
It was no more than what they deserved after their fast start, and it was a tidy finish from the full back Gdula, who’d made a good impression in his fledgling Battery career as he too, deserved his goal.
And the Battery’s foot would remain on the gas. On 33′, a Battery counter attack began by Zeiko Lewis would find Angelo Kelly on the right, whose low driven cross into the middle would find Romario Piggott after a failed half clearance. It looked as if he took too long to fashion a clear cut chance, but the midfielder would create space for himself on the edge of the 18 yard box, before shooting into the bottom corner to double his side’s lead.
After failing to put away the first chance earlier, he took his goal well, making it two goals in two games for the Battery’s team leader for shots in 2020.
The first half came to a close with the Black and Yellow in a comfortable position, but knew from their own comeback in their last home match that they needed to stay on their toes if it was to stay that way.
And they were almost given the most stark of reminders when Romario Williams would find himself on the end of a Miami counter with a pass to feet, turn, and force Joe Kuzminsky into his first real save of the night for the first chance of the second half.
Down the other end, goalscorer Piggott would receive the ball on the left, faking out his man with a stepover before firing near post for the far corner, but Gammeiro was equal to the effort.
And then, on 53′ Janos Lobe would lead a Miami counter, find space beyond full back Logan Gdula and and pass off of for Miguel Gonzalez, who fired past Joe Kuzminsky to reduce the arrears.
With one back, Miami suddenly found themselves in the game again by playing at a much quicker pace than the first half, and proved that the Battery still had work to do despite being in front.
They seemed to take the goal in stride. Just after the goal, the home side would earn a free kick roughly 25 yards from goal. Mauro Cichero would swing a left footed effort toward the top corner, but Gammeiro would be equal to it.
After an hour, the Battery began to make changes. Zeiko Lewis would make way for Nico Rittmeyer, while Dante Marini would replace Mauro Cichero. Both players played well, though perhaps with an eye toward the weekend’s clash with Tampa Bay, they took a well deserved rest.
On 63′, a diagonal ball from Leland Archer would find full back AJ Paterson. He would look up and find striker Arthur Bosua, who miscontrolled the cross, but would poke the ball toward the onrushing substitute Marini. The striker would shield a marker off the ball, allowing Marini the time and space to shoot, and the effort would squirm past the ‘keeper to restore his team’s two goal lead.
The Battery could breathe a little easier inside the last half an hour of the match, with Marini’s goal the ninth Battery in three games, with the winger the seventh player in Black and Yellow to score in that time.
With just over ten minutes left, a cross from the left from Lobe, having set up the goal, looped toward the back post and fell to the feet of Mohamed Thiaw, who would’ve made an interesting end to the match if not for Joe Kuzminsky’s point blank save from a tight angle.
Then, in the last minute of normal time, a Miami corner from the right would flick off the head of midfielder Lance Rozeboom and into the path of Hassan Ndam, but his shot was rushed and the effort went wide.
That was how things finished. It was a comprehensive result for the Black and Yellow in front of fans once again. The victory puts Charleston on 17 points after nine games. Ahead of a crunch meeting with Tampa Bay Rowdies at the weekend, the win was vital in putting breathing space between them and the other two sides in the group.
That meeting with Tampa is scheduled for Saturday, August 29th. Kick off is set for 7:30PM, with the match available to stream on ESPN+
TOP IMAGE: ROMARIO PIGGOTT CELEBRATES SCORING THE BATTERY’S SECOND GOAL IN A 3-1 WIN OVER MIAMI FC. PHOTOS COURTESY OF ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY AND CHARLESTON BATTERY/ BEN CLEMENS