The Charleston Battery took all three points away from home for the first time this season as they ran out 3-1 winners over New York Red Bulls II.
A result that was perhaps their most comprehensive of the season, the goals, which came courtesy of Augi Williams‘ 50th USL Championship goal and 13th of the season, and a much-needed brace from Aidan Apodaca, could have been added to as the visitors peppered their hosts goal with no less than 15 shots, ten of which were on target.
There was a debut for new signing Ayo Flanagan as Patrick Hogan came in as part of the back three alongside AJ Paterson and Matt Sheldon Further up the pitch, DZ Harmon played on the opposite side of Flanagan, while Apodaca and Williams started as a pair up front.
The Battery started the better of the two sides, hitting the post twice, while Apodaca was unlucky after a nice turn in the box that gave him a chance to let fly with an outside of the foot shot that went agonizingly wide of the far post.
Then, after 31 minutes, DZ Harmon was pushed off the ball on the inside edge of the penalty area, which forced the referee to point to the spot.
Augi Williams would send the goalkeeper the wrong way for his sixth goal in five games and 50th goal of his USL career.
It was no more than the visitors deserved, but having hit the post and come so close to scoring on a few occasions, the goal provided a huge relief.
And six minutes later, Apodaca would get on the score sheet. A tricky bounce off the turf beat a center back and left the striker in on goal as he anticipated the mistake, and Apodaca would control for his third goal of the season.
After his miss earlier, it was a weight off the shoulders of a striker in the middle of a goal drought.
The Battery would look to continue on the front foot, and that was helped just before half time, when Caden Clark, having won a free kick for going down under a fairly run-of-the-mill tug of the shirt foul from Robbie Crawford, then hit out at the midfielder and getting into a fight with AJ Paterson. In the end, Crawford was booked for the challenge, Paterson and Red Bulls defender Hassan Ndam were booked for the scuffle that followed, and Clark was sent off for his retaliation.
The two teams went into the break in that manner. The Battery were most likely hoping to get another goal on the board while making sure they kept things tight at the back, while the Red Bulls were most likely were hoping to shore up the defense and counter as best they could on the break.
But after 51′, Augie Williams found his strike partner Apodaca in the middle of the box, and while the shot seemed a little underhit, it bounced off of Apodaca’s knee and in for 3-0.
It was just the type of goal he needed, and he found himself with a brace.
Shortly after though, Apodaca would leave the field with an injury,replaced by Alex Dexter, and as the game drew to a close, so did Charlie Asensio and Patrick Hogan. On the bright side, that meant minutes for Kyle Holcomb and Andrew Booth, but for a team decimated by injuries early on in the campaign, more problems on that front is not what the Battery would want if they look to finish strong.
The Red Bulls grew into the game after the stoppages, and would find a consolation through Zach Ryan after a tidy finish from distance into the bottom corner.
It was harsh on a defense and goalkeeper in Hugo Fauroux that performed admirably throughout, but shortly after the goal, the referee blew for full time and put the Battery’s first away success into the books.
The Battery next face LA Galaxy II away from home on Saturday, August 20th. Kick off is slated for 10:30PM, and the match is available to stream on ESPN+.
TOP IMAGE: AUGI WILLIAMS (PICTURED ABOVE) SCORED HIS 50TH USL CHAMPIONSHIP GOAL AGAINST RED BULLS ii FRIDAY. ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTO