Battery Fall 2-1 on the Road in Hartford
HARTFORD, Conn. – The Battery were defeated by Hartford Athletic 2-1 Tuesday evening after the Connecticut side were lifted by goals from Derek Dodson (31′) and Danny Barrera (34′, penalty). Claudio Repetto scored his fifth goal of the season during stoppage time just before the break, but the Battery were unable to find an equalizer in the second half. The Black and Yellow will look to bounce back against New York Red Bulls II this Friday as they continue their Northeast road trip.
The first half-hour of play went scoreless but was not without opportunities for both sides. Hartford nearly broke open the game in the 3rd minute when Juan Carlos Obregón Jr sent in a shot that rattled off the crossbar and then cleared by AJ Paterson. Charleston loanee Frank Nodarse gave the Battery a pair of close chances off corner kicks in the 7th and 8th minutes, with the first attempt forcing goalkeeper Jeff Caldwell to make the save. Nicque Daley sent in a powerful strike from outside the box in the 22nd minute, but momentum took the ball high and wide of the goal. Hartford nearly took the lead in the 28th minute when Darwin Lom found the back of the net, but he was eventually flagged for offside in the build up.
The hosts struck first in the 31st minute when Derek Dodson scored from the center of the box, assisted by Danny Barrera. Goalkeeper Paul Lewis got a glove on the shot but his effort was not enough to stop the ball from going in. The Athletic doubled their lead minutes later after Temi Adesodun was called for a foul inside the box, allowing Barrera to convert from the penalty spot to make the score 2-0, despite Lewis correctly guessing Barrera’s placement and getting a hand on the shot. Obregón nearly tripled the lead in the 40th minute with a shot from the right side of the box, but Lewis was there to make the save. The Battery got one back in stoppage time when Zeiko Lewis connected with Claudio Repetto off a corner kick, and Repetto sent in a no-look header into the back of the net for his fifth goal of the season.
The second half started off promising for the Battery with a trio of corner kicks awarded to them but the Black and Yellow were unable to produce a goal. Robbie Crawford had a good look on goal in the 55th minute with a shot from outside the box, but his attempt too was high over the crossbar. Hartford had an opportunity to add a third goal in the 64th minute but Obregón was once again met by the crossbar which denied him. Barrera received the ricochet and quickly fired in a shot but it was wide left of the post. The Battery defense continued to firm up as the night progressed, Erik McCue had a productive evening on the Battery back line, registering match-highs in blocks (4) and interceptions (3). Paul Lewis had three saves, one punch and one high claim between the sticks on the evening.
The Battery pressed on the latter minutes of the match and began to find rhythm while searching for an equalizer. Charleston won six set piece plays in the final 15 minutes of action. Geobel Perez had an opportunity from outside the box in the 86th minute for a shot but the Cuban forward’s shot was wide left of the net. Among the best chances for the Battery came following a foul by Hartford on Zarokostas just outside the box for a free kick. Burke Fahling sent the ball in towards the far post and in a dangerous spot, but his effort was unable to connect with a teammate to get a shot off. With the defeat, the Battery move into sixth in the Atlantic Division table, three points out of a playoff spot.
Battery Head Michael Anhaeuser gave his assessment on the team’s performance, recognizing the weight the first-half penalty carried.
“[Hartford] getting that second goal was really tough, because if we only give up the first one, we’re down 1-0, and then we score a great goal at the end of the half that would have made it 1-1,” said Anhaeuser. “[Hartford] get the penalty and it changes the complexion, they’re able to sit back in the second half and counter attack. When you give up two goals on the road, it’s always tough to come back from those deficits.”
The artificial turf field at Dillon Stadium looked to have an influence on the match, but Anhaeuser applauded his team’s performance on the unfamiliar surface. The Battery will be playing on artificial turf again against Red Bulls II this Friday.
“I thought we did well actually, playing on the turf,” said Anhaeuser. “Looking ahead to New York, it’s a surface we’ve played on already and we’ve played [New York] well. We’ve got a good group and there’s a lot of positivity in the locker room.”
Battery forward and goalscorer Claudio Repetto praised his teammates’ ability to not back down after going down 2-0.
“You always have a plan, but that might turn and you have to quickly figure out another way, I think we did well there, especially in the final moments,” said Repetto.
The team now shifts the focus to Red Bulls II, where they will look to secure three points against the divisional foe
“Friday, we need to bounce back, we’ll wake up tomorrow morning only focused on Friday because we can get points there,” said Repetto. “Then next week, we go for another game, so it’s about always staying positive.”
Coach Anhaeuser said his team will aim to rebound with a victory to conclude the road trip.
“We were down early, but we had the ability to at least get a point here in Hartford, which would have put us in a good situation,” said Anhaeuser. “We just have to play each game individually and we have to come out and be ready for New York. Get ourselves ready physically and mentally because it’s going to be a high intensity game.”
The Battery will stay on the road without returning to Charleston before the Red Bulls II tie, training in New Jersey ahead of the match. As the team is away, the club is hosting a free watch party for Friday’s match at Patriots Point, inviting fans to the stadium to catch the game on the jumbotron.