Burke Fahling’s goal midway through the second half was what gave the Charleston Battery their first win of the campaign on Tuesday night against Loudoun United.
The win was the Battery’s first in three attempts after their match against the LA Galaxy II was postponed on Friday, meaning it was the first game the Black and Yellow would play in nearly two weeks since a 2-2 draw against the New York Red Bulls II.
For the Battery, Jarad van Schaik, who missed the draw against New York made his way back into the defense. There was also a first professional start for Temi Adesodun in midfield, while Zeiko Lewis would partner Nicque Daley up front.
The game started slowly for the Battery, with Joe Kuzminsky forced into a save in just the third minute off the foot of midfield Jacob Greene, as he received the ball on the left edge of the box and shot toward the bottom corner, but Kuzminsky in goal was able to make it down to his left to deny an early opener.
The home side had most of the possession in the first half following the early effort, but wasn’t quite able to make it count before they were denied again by Kuzminsky in the 40th minute.
An attempted clearance from the Battery was headed back into danger by Micheal Downs and on again by Micheal DeShields into the path of his center back partner Robby Dambrot that forced a solid save by the Battery ‘keeper who dropped to his knees and stuck his hand up to palm it away.
Despite not having too much of the ball in the attacking half in the first 45, Geobel Perez had the Battery’s first shot of the evening deflected wide before the whistle blew for half time.
So, despite being level at the break, the Battery had work to do. Having lost the possession battle and having their only shot of the half deflected, it looked like it was going to be a frustrating evening for the Black and Yellow.
To counter this and their slow start to the second half, the Battery made a triple substitution in the 56th minute. Joel Bunting, Burke Fahling and DZ Harmon would replace Nicque Daley, Geobel Perez and Temi Adesodun, who was forced into a very defensive minded first start, but could be happy with his night’s work.
Ten minutes later, Patrick Hogan would come on for an injured Ben Di Rosa for his first appearance of the season.
The game seemed as if it would peter out to a draw as both teams worked each other into attrition, but Zeiko Lewis had other ideas.
He took the ball from a short pass on the right wing, finding a pinpoint cross into the box for Burke Fahling as he cut in from the opposite side and dispatched the ball into the net with the one touch finish to give the visitors a late lead.
As the remaining minutes ticked on, Loudoun found another gear in the pursuit of an equalizer, with the game stuck in the Battery’s defensive third. However, the Battery’s defense would remain stout, with Logan Gdula, DZ Harmon and Angelo Kelly all making important tackles to help keep Joe Kuzminsky’s sheet clean.
And then, to aid the Battery’s cause, a free kick was given with three minutes of time left, Robbie Crawford stepped up to a free kick just outside the box, sending a curling effort just high of the crossbar.
And after holding their breath defensively, the Black and Yellow were happy to hear the final whistle blow following five minutes of added time.
The win was their first of the year after a tough start to the campaign, and the Battery can only hope it gets better from here as we move into the summer.
The Battery will return to Patriot’s Point for their third of four games against New York Red Bulls II on Saturday June 14th. Kick off is set for 7PM with the game available to stream on ESPN+.
TOP IMAGE: JOE KUZMINSKY, WHOSE THREE SAVES HELPED EARN HIM HIS FIRST CLEAN SHEET OF THE YEAR, GOES UP TO PUNCH THE BALL AWAY FROM A CROSS. LOUDOUN UNITED PHOTO.