The Charleston Battery had a two game winning streak snapped Wednesday night, suffering a 3-0 loss at the hands of the Charlotte Independence.
The game was their second Southern Derby loss of the year, both by the same scoreline, having lost in the reverse fixture at Patriot’s Point. A Dane Kelly goal in the 6th minute after a slow start from the Black and Yellow was answered with a valiant effort in the first half by the visitors, but they were unable to find an equalizer before they gave up two further goals late in the second 45.
Charlotte scored with their first attempt of the game. It came by way of a Blake Pope cross from the right wing as the Battery defense had over-committed in the middle, which gave former Battery striker Dane Kelly the space to make a run toward the edge of the area and fire a shot toward goal that beat Joe Kuzminsky. The shot looked as if it caught the glare of the sun as it went into the net, making it difficult for the ‘keeper.
The slow start by the Battery was the second in as many games for the visitors, and seemed like it was becoming a trend after they succumbed to the early goal against Charlotte at home.
Kelly then could have had a second as the former Battery frontman went clean through on goal after 19′, and tried to chip Kuzminsky, but the stopper was able to stay big and save before the ball was eventually cleared.
The Battery then came back into things as the half wore on. Half an hour in, Stavros Zarokostas made a run into the box on the left, going one on one with the goalkeeper, Brandon Miller. The striker’s effort would beat Miller, but the angle was too acute to find the back of the net as it went wide.
In the 39th, Patrick Hogan‘s header from a corner served in from the right would go high and wide, before a second set piece just a minute later from the opposite side would be flicked on at the near post and leave the goalkeeper flat footed before going wide of goal.
Two minutes from the break, a Battery free kick would be cleared away first time before being crossed back in, deflected partially and into the path of Angelo Kelly, whose shot also took a deflection and went straight to the ‘keeper.
And that’s how the teams went into the break. Despite the slow start, the Battery had been making inroads to an equalizer as the half ended, and could be happy with how they found themselves going into the changing room.
To begin the second 45, it seemed as if the home side were content to take the sting out of the game, putting their foot on the ball and soaking up the pressure of the Battery. It wasn’t until just before the hour mark that they would create their first real chance of the second half.
It came by way of Stavros Zarokostas, whose cross from the left into the middle wasn’t to find anyone and was cleared.
On 63′ Zarokostas was involved again, receiving a ball from Angelo Kelly on the left along the byline. His cross would ping across the area before falling to Robbie Crawford, but he couldn’t find a way to put his foot through the ball as his shot went straight to the goalkeeper.
And then, things got worse for the visitors. Leland Archer would block a shot on the edge of the box with a slide tackle, but was adjudged to have done so with his trailing hand, meaning the referee would point to the spot. Marcelo Palomino would step up, dispatching the ball into the top corner to double his team’s lead.
It was somewhat unfortunate for the Battery, who had had the better of play in the lead up to the goal, but the fact that they had struggled to create any clear cut chances with it was something that came back to haunt them.
Second half substitute Joel Bunting, who scored the winner against Miami, would create a chance for a life line with nine minutes left, but his shot on the edge of the D outside the 18 yard box curled into the arms of Brandon Miller.
And then, Dane Kelly would receive a pass from midfield, holding the ball up on the inside edge of the box before passing off to midfielder, Valentin Sabella, who would go top corner beyond Joe Kuzminsky with his shot to pad the lead even further.
The scoreline was flattering for Charlotte, but as with the second goal, was a product of not taking the chances created.
The frustrating evening was finished not too long after the third goal, meaning the Battery’s two game winning streak was snapped, and it was their second three-goal loss to their Southern Derby rivals of the year.
Thankfully for those of a Black and Yellow persuasion, they will not have long to dwell on the loss. The Battery next face Loudoun United on Saturday, June 26th at Patriot’s Point. Kick off is at 7PM, and available to stream on ESPN+.
TOP IMAGE: BATTERY GOALKEEPER JOE KUZMINSKY WAS MUCH CALLED UPON TUESDAY NIGHT, BUT WAS HELPLESS FOR MOST OF THE GOALS CONCEDED. BEN CLEMENS PHOTO.