Braces from Romario Williams and Dante Marini helped the Charleston Battery defeat Toronto FC II, 6-1, at MUSC Health Stadium Saturday night.
On a night where everything clicked offensively, Williams and Marini shined the brightest, each scoring two goals and adding an assist. Williams opened the scoring midway through the first half, nodding a Maikel Chang corner kick in at the back post.
Forrest Lasso extended the lead ten minutes later on another set piece. Justin Portillo fired a low driven ball into the penalty area from a corner kick and Taylor Mueller flicked it on to Lasso who calmly slotted the ball past TFC II goalkeeper Angelo Cavalluzo. The goal was Lasso’s sixth in the league and eighth in all competitions this season.
The hosts continued to knock the ball around well after the break and found the back of the net again just six minutes after the second half whistle. Marini received the ball on the left flank after good build up play from the Battery and found Williams with a pass near the penalty spot. The Jamaican center forward did well to hold off his man, turn and knock the ball in for his second of the night. Williams’ brace on Saturday puts him in the league lead in goals with 13 on the season.
“The entire week we’ve been preparing to play against three in the back,” said Williams. “We know that when we go up against teams with three that we’re going to get a lot of space in the middle and attacking thirds. I just tried to make myself available in those spots; the guys did a good job of finding me and I was able to get two.”
Marini tallied his first goal of the night shortly after adding the assist on Williams’ second. A great individual effort from Marini kept the ball alive in the attacking third following a long free kick into the box. The 5-5 midfielder chased down a loose ball and smashed a left-footed shot on frame that took a slight deflection and found the back of the net.
The visitors pulled a goal back in the 66th minute when Sergio Camargo finished Ryan Telfer floated cross at the back post. The goal was the only blemish on a near-perfect night for the Battery at MUSC Health Stadium.
Marini scored his second of the game just eight minutes after Camargo’s goal to push the lead back to four goals. Williams threaded the ball through to Marini following a great exchange with Ataulla Guerra and Marini slotted a shot past Cavalluzo at the back post.
Portillo capped off the night with an incredible goal from free kick just outside the penalty area during stoppage time of the second half, curling the ball over the wall and past Cavalluzo for his fourth of the year.
“We wanted to take these three games at home one game at a time and get three points from this one first,” said Battery Head Coach Mike Anhaeuser. “We accomplished our goal here tonight and that puts us in a position to get nine points from these three home games.There’s six really important points on the table in these next two matches.”
Saturday’s demolition was the first of three matches in a row at MUSC Health Stadium. The Battery will take on Tampa Bay Rowdies on July 1st, then close out the three-game home stand with Louisville City FC on July 8th.
-per Charleston Battery