The Charleston Battery were forced to survive a comeback after going ahead twice by Loudoun United but eventually dug deep to get the three points by a score of 5-3 on Tuesday night.
Stavros Zarokostas had a goal sandwiched in between a Claudio Repetto brace before the latter had to come off midway through the first half through injury, which, shellshocking the Black and Yellow as it was, the visitors let a 3-1 lead slip through their fingers before half time. It was then their job to go and win the game again, and DZ Harmon, who had already played set up man, put the Battery back in front before Zeiko Lewis came on and put the game away in the dying embers.
A short week and an extensive injury list meant changes to the side that beat Charlotte 2-0 at the weekend, while AJ Paterson, Romario Piggott and the aforementioned Lewis started on the bench, replaced by DZ Harmon, Burke Fahling and Logan Gdula, as he switched roles from the win against Charlotte.
The Battery got to work quickly, creating the first chance of the evening from a free kick in the third minute that Burke Fahling put over the bar.
But just over a minute later came the breakthrough. An inch perfect pass from Nique Daley found DZ Harmon, who made his way into the box, shaping himself up to shoot before the ball was tackled away by the recovering defender. However, the ball went straight into the path of Claudio Repetto to finish just a few yards from goal.
The home side had little time to catch their breath when in the 8th minute, a throw in was flicked on and found its way to Daley on the wing, who picked his head up and found Stavros Zarokostas at the back post, whose diving header beat the ‘keeper, and though a covering defender tried his best to clear the ball, it went over the line to put the Black and Yellow up 2-0.
Both goals put the Battery in the drivers’ seat, and coming that early in the game was a luxury that the Battery hadn’t known that often this campaign.
But Loudoun would fins their way into the game, and on 14′, a ball intercepted in midfield would give them their first chance of the evening, as Abdoul Amoustapha would eventually put the ball wide.
.But Amoustapha would find a way through down the right in the 21st, beating Ben Di Rosa for pace before laying the ball off for Theodore Ku-DiPietro, who swept the ball home to give his side a lifeline.
Joe Kuzminsky would then save from Micheal Downs from distance, tipping the ball around the post
The Battery were undeterred however, and on 31′, DZ Harmon would force his way down the right, pick his head up and find Claudio Repetto who applied a tasty backheeled finish to put his side back up by two.
Joe Kuzminsky would then save from Micheal Downs from distance, tipping the ball around the post.
Claudio Repetto would then go down with a knee injury just inside his own half and have to be replaced by Joel Bunting, which caused problems in more ways than one, adding to the Battery’s already extensive injury list, while also taking away the out ball and hold up play that Repetto provided.
And with 40 minutes gone, that absence would be felt, as the Loudoun midfielder Downs would press the ball and play a ball right to Amoustapha, who took a touch before beating Joe Kuzminsky at his near post to bring his side to 3-2 behind.
It was coming, after the home side came back into the game following the injury, but poor play from the Battery to not be able to find a way around the press.
Things then got worse for the home side just before the break, when a cross by Darluis Paz was turned in by Patrick Hogan. It was unfortunate for the first-year center back, who got his feet tangled up trying to shepherd the ball back to his ‘keeper and found the ball going into his own net.
The first half ended with the Battery rightly frustrated, but there was a second 45 to go and earn back the upper hand in.
Though it was Loudoun who came out fastest, hoping to keep up their momentum. The scorer of Loudoun’s second, Amoustapha would get past Logan Gdula on the left before trying to chip Joe Kuzminsky, but the effort would go just wide.
But the Battery would earn themselves a free kick on 57′ and from the left, put into the box by Burke Fahling, DZ Harmon would arrow a diving header into the net to restore the Battery’s lead.
While the game had slipped away from the Battery in the first half, Harmon deserved his goal, the first of his career. After his assist, more or less setting up the first goal, and being a thorn in the side of the Loudoun defense all evening, it was right that he put his side back in front.
After that, the second half was by no means the spectacle that the first was, but on 75′, Paz found his way around Angelo Kelly, but put his shot from distance high.
And Harmon, to cap off his Man Of The Match performance, would make his way down the right wing before being taken down in the penalty area just before he got the chance to shoot, and the referee pointed to the penalty spot.
Zeiko Lewis would step up from 12 yards, calmly putting his penalty into the left bottom corner to give his side the 5-3 lead, and with just a few minutes left, that would finally give the Black and Yellow the three points.
The Battery were made to work for the result from a winning position, but the fact that they did so will hopefully stand them in good stead going forward, as they prepare to face Miami FC away from home on Sunday, August 1st. at 7:30. The match will be streamed on ESPN+.
TOP IMAGE: LELAND ARCHER FIGHTS FOR A BALL WITH A LOUDOUN ATTACKER. LOUDOUN UNITED PHOTO