Goalkeeper Joe Kuzminsky earned his third consecutive shutout Saturday night as the Charleston Battery defeated the Charlotte Independence, 2-0, at MUSC Health Stadium.
Ataulla Guerra scored his third goal in four games to break the deadlock in the 31st minute. Gordon Wild created the goal after taking a touch around his defender at midfield and springing a counterattack. Wild drove down the left wing towards the 18-yard box before delivering a pass to Guerra. The Trinidadian striker collected the pass, settled himself and found the bottom corner of Andrew Dykstra’s goal to put the Battery ahead.
After the halftime break, Charlotte controlled possession while the Battery continued to look dangerous on the counter. Charleston’s defense stayed compact and organized and did not give up a shot on goal the entire match. The Battery haven't been scored on in 270 consecutive minutes.
“We really shut them down defensively,” said Battery Head Coach Mike Anhaeuser. "I think they got frustrated. We didn’t give them too many chances, which is key against them because they have some quality players. Defensively I’m very happy; three shutouts in three games is huge for us. If we can continue to produce defensive performances like that and not give up goals, we’re going to be winning a lot of games.”
Henry Kalungi was shown his second yellow card in the 78th minute for pulling Tah Brian Anunga back on a counterattack and Charlotte was forced to play down a man for the remainder of the match. Despite the foul, the Battery were able to create one of their best scoring opportunities of the game. Anunga fought through the contact and poked the ball to Nico Rittmeyer out wide on the right. Rittmeyer delivered a perfect cross to Ian Svantesson on the back post, but Dykstra recovered well and was able to knock Svantesson’s header out for a corner kick.
Substitute Victor Mansaray sealed the result in the 87th minute, scoring his first goal in a Battery jersey. The chance came after Svantesson picked up the ball and drove at the back four before slipping a pass to Kotaro Higashi. Higashi dropped a pass back to Mansaray who calmly tucked the shot away to double the host’s advantage.
The Battery’s third consecutive win moves them into fourth place in the USL Eastern Conference with three more home games in May. Next up for the Battery is Bethlehem Steel FC on May 12 at MUSC Health Stadium.
-per Charleston Battery