Charleston Battery midfielder Jose Cuevas marked his professional debut with a pair of goals to lift the Battery to a season opening win versus the Richmond Kickers Saturday afternoon at City Stadium. Cuevas headed Charleston in front just before half time and after the Kickers leveled he struck again midway through the second half to cap a memorable debut performance.
"The team defended very well and Kevin Klasila made several key saves and clearances as well as held off a very strong Kickers attack," said Charleston Battery head coach Mike Anhaeuser.
"The difference was our ability to pick up two goals in Richmond which is never an easy task. Jose had a great debut and I was very pleased with the overall team performance."
Rookie Goalkeeper Kevin Klasila recorded three saves en route to the win in front of a bumper crowd of just over 4,000.
After a cagey opening the Battery finally engineered a breakthrough in the 41st minute. Veteran defender John Wilson slipped past two defenders on the left side of the eighteen-yard box and drove to the bye-line. Wilson lifted a cross to the edge of the six-yard box and Cuevas directed a header past goalkeeper Ronnie Pascale.
Richmond mounted a furious response and tied the game within five minutes after Stanley Nyazamba latched onto a Matt Delicate flick-on. Nyazamba dragged the ball onto his left foot and curled a finish past Klasila into the left corner.
The game swung back and forth after half time but Cuevas proved to be the difference adding a second goal in the 77th minute. Forward Sallieu Bundu fought off his defender by the corner flag and cut inside the Richmond box. As the space closed around him he drilled the ball across the face of the goal and Cuevas volleyed in from close-range.
The Kickers threw everything forward to try and equalize for a second time but the Battery defense led by captain Colin Falvey held them off.
With time running out Charleston almost added a third but Nicki Paterson shot from thirty yards was smothered by Pascale.