Battery Fall at Patriots Point 2-3 to Riverhounds
CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Charleston Battery fell 2-3 to Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC at Patriots Point Friday night. Multiple goals in both halves were exchanged by the sides but Pittsburgh came out on top with an unanswered goal by Alex Dixon in the 65th minute. The night featured professional debuts for goalkeeper Paul Lewis and midfielder MJ Petry.
The first half was back and forth the whole way through, but was scoreless through the first 19 minutes. DZ Harmon and Stavros Zarokostas provided forward movement into the Pittsburgh 18-yard box but were unable to convert. The Battery struck first off a set piece play in the 20th minute. Logan Gdula headed home a Zeiko Lewis free kick to put the hosts up 1-0. The goal was Gdula’s first of the season.
Pittsburgh were quick to strike back and quickly pressed back into the Battery defensive third. The Hounds were awarded a penalty following a foul drawn by Kenardo Forbes inside the box in the 22nd minute. Russell Cicerone took the penalty and converted to even the score at 1-1. Battery goalkeeper Paul Lewis, making his first career professional start and appearance, got a paw on the ball in his dive, but the attempt managed to get through. Pittsburgh would take a 2-1 lead just before the end of the half when Alex Dixon powered home a shot from the center of the box, assisted by Dani Rovira. Possession was relatively even during the half, with the Riverhounds taking a slight majority of the ball at 55%.
Play resumed with a quick start as the Battery equalized in just the second minute of the half with Romario Piggott doing the honors. Piggott received a short through ball from Gdula and gave it a one touch pass into the box towards Nicque Daley and Zarokostas. Daley nudged the ball to Stavros and his shot was slowed down by Pittsburgh goalkeeper Danny Vitiello.
Piggott won the race to the ball as it slowly rolled towards the net to leave no doubt and send it home. Pittsburgh were quick to counter again, driving into the Battery 18-yard box but Lewis was there to save the shot by Louis Perez. Lewis produced another sensational save in the 58th minute following a well-placed headed shot by Cicerone, getting vertical to redirect the ball over the crossbar and out of harm’s way. The game remained 2-2 until the 65th minute when Dixon notched a brace from the right side of the box to put Pittsburgh ahead 2-3.
The Battery were reduced to 10 men when Zarokostas was shown his second yellow card of the night in the 79th minute. Geobel Perez nearly equalized for the home side off the bench with a header towards the net in the 86th minute, but Vitiello was there to make the save. The Battery had a pair of corner kicks in stoppage time, but were unable to convert. Along with Lewis’ debut, the night featured a professional debut for 17-year-old midfielder MJ Petry, who entered the game as a substitute in stoppage time.
Battery Head Coach Michael Anhaeuser gave his verdict on the evening.
”[Pittsburgh] are a good team, but we did things pretty well, especially the beginning of the second half,” said Anhaeuser. “We came out, we put them under pressure and we found the ball. We worked it up very nice and got the second goal. But, [Pittsburgh] scored a great goal, you can’t knock them for that, it was a heck of a finish there.”
Coach Anhaeuser applauded Paul Lewis’ performance during his professional debut, which came against the Atlantic Division leaders.
”Every step is a learning moment and he learned from the beginning,” said Anhaeuser “I’m very proud of him. He did very well against a good team. He came out when we needed him to, it’s just unfortunate that we couldn’t get a result for him. But he’s going to get better every single day and that’s what he needs to do.”
Gdula was happy to score his first goal of the season but recognized adjustments to be made on defense.
”It’s always good to get on the scoresheet, Zeiko helped me come close,” said Gdula. “I wish I could have done better defensively and we could have kept more balls out of the net.”
On the match as a whole, Gdula found positives in the team’s possession and ability of all the players stepping up in their roles.
”Overall, I thought we started off strong, I thought we possessed the ball a lot more coming into the game,” said Gdula. “I thought we had some guys step up and I thought we could have had more chances to win that game, even being a man down at the end.”
Coach Anhaueser will now prepare his men for next week’s home match against Loudoun United FC on Friday, August 13.
”We just have to get back into it next week. It’s another home game so we’ve got to come out, we want to score and get forward,” said Anhaeuser.
The Battery’s next match is back at Patriots Point August 13 for the final fixture of the season against Loudoun United FC. The club will be celebrating Pride Night that evening with pre-match and post-match parties in the Battery Pavilion and limited edition Pride scarves on sale and player warmup kits that will be auctioned off with proceeds from both benefitting Charleston Pride and We Are Family.