CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Charleston Battery secured the very first victory in their new home Friday night beating Atlanta United 2 3-0 at Patriots Point. It was the second win over Atlanta this season and the first fixture for the Battery in Group H as part of the USL Championship’s reformatted 2020 Season.
The Battery looked to bounce back after Sunday night’s tough loss against Birmingham Legion FC and answered the challenge with their traditional defensive strength and steady attack up front. Any rust coming off of Sunday’s first match back was certainly shaken off by the 15-minute mark as Zeiko Lewis and Angelo Kelly struck solid shots on goal in quick succession forcing solid saves from Atlanta keeper Ben Lundgaard.
While the Atlanta side had a solid chance soon after, the Battery took the lead in the 20th minute that opened the floodgates for the attack. A clearance attempt by the Atlanta defense was intercepted by Angelo Kelly who quickly shifted to forward Zeiko Lewis. Lewis, being crowded by the Atlanta defense, knocked it over to Nicque Daley who fired it past a lunging Lundgaard to put the Battery on the board. The Jamaican International’s goal was the first Battery goal on the season not scored by Zeiko Lewis.
The Battery kept the pressure on through the first half with several chances, including shots by Logan Gdula as well as a Robbie Crawford free kick blocked by the United 2 keeper, but had to settle for the one-goal lead at the half.
Charleston commanded the second half quickly, doubling their lead in the 49th minute after a beautiful backwards flick by Crawford through the legs of Atlanta forward Jack Gurr to Gdula whose cross towards the back post was headed in by Nico Rittmeyer. “I told the guys at halftime, just put it up there. And Logan put up a great cross,” Rittmeyer noted on his first goal for season.
And with 9 minutes of penalty time, the Battery made the most of it, cruising to a third goal off an Arthur Bosua volley, who subbed in at the 72nd minute for Daley.
The win was not only secured by a steady attack but strong defensive management by captain Jarad van Schaik, Leland Archer and keeper Phil Breno. The trio came up strong in the 69th minute as Atlanta put pressure on, slipping one by Bosua but eventually stopped by Archer and van Schaik. Minutes before, the Charleston netminder, Breno, had a tremendous save blocking a redirected header by Atlanta forward Jackson Conway.
“I thought we came out tonight so much better than last week and it’s something we talked about,” Coach Mike Anhaeuser recapped. “The guys came out and had a shot in the first minute, that really started us off on a good foot, so I think it was big. We needed everybody tonight, great result, great 3 points for us and it’s great to get that first 3 points out here at Patriots Point.”