ATLANTA, GA - The Charleston Battery suffered a 3-1 defeat against Atlanta United 2 on Wednesday night at Fifth Third Bank Stadium. The Battery drop crucial points as they continue to fight for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Battery pressed high up the pitch, looking to force a young Atlanta side into a turnover, early in the match. Ataulla Guerra and Kotaro Higashi were the ones to apply pressure but Atlanta United did well to play out of the back. It was a quick start for the stripes as Luiz Fernando put Atlanta out to a 1-0 lead in the 10th minute of play. Fernando picked up a loose ball in midfield and, with support to his left side, drove down the middle of the field going one on one with O'Brian Woodbine. With a few quick stepovers, Fernando was able to beat Woodbine into the box and lifted his shot over a charging Joe Kuzminsky.
Nico Rittmeyer scored his first goal of the season to draw the Black and Yellow level in the 26th minute. Tah Brian Anunga established possession for the Battery in midfield before playing a pass back to Taylor Mueller, who lofted a long ball towards Rittmeyer in the attacking third. Rittmeyer was able to chest Mueller's pass down in the box while battling an Atlanta defender. Rittmeyer kept his composure and balance slipping a low shot past Brendan Moore while going to ground. Rittmeyer's goal was good enough to see the Battery end the first half tied with Atlanta, 1-1.
Andrew Carleton entered the match as the second half kicked off and made his presence know, scoring four minutes after coming on to restore Atlanta's lead. Fernando picked up an assist on the play after being played open down the left side of the Battery's defensive third. The forward moved into a dangerous area and found Carleton making a late run into the penalty area. Carleton curled a well-placed shot past Kuzminsky giving Atlanta a 2-1 second-half lead.
The Battery battled to find a way back in the match, but things would get worse for the visitors in the 74th minute when Atlanta was awarded a penalty after Rittmeyer was called for a foul in the Charleston penalty area. George Bello drew the foul after going down when the midfielder made contact with Rittmeyer's outstretched leg. Jack Metcalf stepped up and converted the penalty to make it 3-1 and secure three points for Atlanta United 2.
The Battery will look to bounce back in their next outing, at home, against North Carolina FC on Sunday, September 22nd at 2:00 PM. It's Hometown Heroes day at MUSC Health Stadium where all local first responders will receive a free ticket for Sunday's match! Be sure to bring the whole family as we'll have a number of activities for the kids including emergency response vehicles on the concourse! Group and individual tickets are available online or by calling (843) 971-GOAL.
ATLANTA: Moore, Metcalf (penalty 74'), Ambrose, Campbell, Decas (YC 90'), Hernandez, Bashti (Carleton 46', goal 49'), Kratz, Fernando (goal 10', Barajas 83'), Bello (YC 48'), Conway (YC 62', Wyke 71')
Substitutes: Castanheira, Benitez, Wyke, Barajas, Carleton, Kissiedou, Okonkwo
CHARLESTON: Kuzminsky, Nelson (Lewis 67'), Mueller (assist 26'), Woodbine, van Schaik, Marini, Kelly (YC 29'), Anunga (YC 67'), Rittmeyer (goal 26'), Guerra (Bosua 81'), Higashi (Svantesson 72')