Charleston take down Charlotte FC in Battle of the Carolinas
Battery open up Conor Casey era with preseason win over MLS expansion side
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Charleston Battery defeated Charlotte FC 1-0 on Saturday during the opening day of the Breeze Airways™ Carolina Challenge Cup.
Battery Head Coach Conor Casey earned his first preseason win since taking the lead of the Black and Yellow. Newcomer Aidan Apodaca scored in the 13th minute to put the Battery ahead. His goal proved to be the match-winner that sent Charleston past Charlotte and top of the CCC table.
The victory took place at a packed Patriots Point as Charlotte played their first game in front of fans.
The Battery started the game pressing early, forcing Charlotte into some nervy situations when the visitors played the ball out of the back. Among the early opportunities for Charleston came when Augustine Williams broke through the Charlotte defense at roughly the 10-minute mark, but his thumping attempt went right to the goalkeeper George Marks.Charleston broke open the game in the 13th minute when Aidan Apodaca had Marks one-on-one and chipped in the goal after making an extra move for a clear look at the net.
The goal was the first of the preseason for Apodaca, who signed with the Black and Yellow during the offseason. Coach Casey went to his bench at the half-hour mark for a complete swap of his side for one wholly composed of trialists, the group held their own against the MLS side to preserve the 1-0 advantage into the break.
The second half commenced with the Battery featuring the same squad as before the pause in the action. The Battery tactician’s hard-pressing side continued to press Charlotte’s defense, however, they were unable to double their advantage, particularly in the 56th minute when a trialist’s connection almost led to a conversion.
Charlotte were eager to counter and began to find a footing in the 58th minute with a promising look on goal, but this time it was Charleston’s defense that held firm.
Casey made another squad swap just past the hour mark that featured Pat Hogan, Benji Ettienne, EJ Johnson and Geobel Perez to replace a selection of trialists. The fresh legs helped the Battery maintain shape and composure as Charlotte pressed forward for an equalizer.
The second goalkeeper trialist for Charleston put on a strong showing in the 85th minute to deny Karol Swiderski’s promising chance on goal inside the box.
Charleston saw out the 1-0 victory after difusing Charlotte’s final attempts to even the score, placing the Battery top of the CCC table.
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