A shell-shocked Charleston Battery team fell to rivals Charlotte Independence on Friday night, losing by a score of 3-0.
The loss meant that the Black and Yellow were unable to build on a promising draw last week against the New York Red Bulls II, even as they welcomed 2,000 fans into Patriots’ Point Soccer Complex for the first time since they moved into the building.
The home side in fact had the first effort of the evening after just three minutes, when Stavros Zarokostas cut in from the left and tried to curl one into the top corner. The shot beat the ‘keeper, but hit the post and was eventually cleared.
And then came the sea change. A free kick for the visitors was taken from distance and hit the bar before being rebounded in by midfielder Marcelo Palamino.
It was a well taken free kick, but if there was to be a criticism of Joe Kuzminsky, it’s that the wall was perhaps too full, allowing for the easy rebound from Marcelo Palamino.
The Battery were clearly struggling after that, starting well, but giving up the early goal, and sadly for them the hits kept coming.
On 18′ a pinpoint cross from the left found Ivan Parra free in the box having outjumped his marker to head into the bottom left corner.
It was a well taken goal for the visitors, but being outjumped defensively is not something the Battery will be proud of. It was a tough start for the home side that left them in a state of shock.
The game began to get bogged down in midfield after that, though the Battery did begin to find a foothold in the game as the half came to a close. Last season’s top scorer, Zeiko Lewis found himself in space just after the half hour mark, and though his shot was mis-hit, it fell into the path of Zarokostas, but it was saved by the ‘keeper.
Despite some better play to finish the half, the Battery couldn’t find a way back into the match, and the half ended at 2-0 to the visitors.
The Battery of course wished to build on their end to the half, but after just five minutes into the second period, on Charlotte’s first real attack of the half, Irvin Parra was fouled on the inside edge of the box, and the referee pointed to the spot for a penalty that was dispatched by the striker for 3-0.
A frustrating evening had just gotten worse. After looking like they had found their way back into the game, giving up a goal this early in the second half surely meant game over.
And as such, the game had descended into a mess of physicality, resulting in most of the six yellow cards that were given throughout the match, including one each after a fight following a hard challenge at midfield.
And then, on 63′, substitute Geobel Perez had an opportunity saved after a curling effort from outside of the box, but it was straight down the ‘keeper’s throat.
Charlotte were solid defensively as the match wound down, and the Battery eventually slumped to defeat.
It was tough to take, not only because the Battery played well just last week, but because of the loss in the derby to start the year at home.
Perhaps the only positive to be taken though, is that the Black and Yellow will have nine days between matches, when they take on the New York Red Bulls II, this time at home, on Sunday May 23rd, at 2PM.
TOP IMAGE: NICQUE DALEY ATTACKS IN THE FIRST HALF OF THE BATTERY’S LOSS TO CHARLOTTE. KIM MORGAN GREGORY PHOTO.