Battery battle wet conditions in 1-0 loss to Detroit

The Charleston Battery get a tune-up before the 2020 season.
The Charleston Battery get a tune-up before the 2020 season.(Charleston Battery)
Published: Mar. 20, 2022 at 2:16 AM EDT
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HAMTRAMCK, Mich. – The Charleston Battery suffered defeat Saturday after falling 1-0 to Detroit City FC during a rainy Michigan afternoon. The hosts struck first in the 50th minute when Antoine Hoppenot scored off the rebound of an initial Joe Kuzminsky save. The goal proved to be the match-winner as the Battery now will look to bounce back from the loss when they travel away against Atlanta United 2 on Sunday, March 27, before returning home on April 1.

The game kicked off with rain showers and the temperature at an even 50 degrees. The field was slick and the conditions appeared to play a role early and often in the contest, with Detroit falling victim to errant passes to stunt their forward movement in addition to the stingy Battery midfield. DZ Harmon had the first chance of the day, taking a free-kick in the 4th minute that rattled off the right post before being cleared out.

Augustine Williams had a flurry of chances midway through the half, once in the 22nd minute with a shot from distance and again in the 25th minute from deep inside the box, with both coming close but going wide. He and Aidan Apodaca were regularly in dangerous spots inside the attacking third. Harmon again had another good look on goal in the 27th minute with a shot from a tough angle that went just past the far post. Control was hard to come by as the ball played fast off the wet artificial turf.

Enock Kwakwa made his Battery debut and asserted his presence early, tallying one chance created, three tackles, six duels won and two interceptions roughly 30 minutes through. Play started to turn towards Detroit’s way as the hosts began to command possession and opportunities towards the final 10 minutes. Charleston’s defense held firm, however, and the sides went into the break scoreless.

There were 12 fouls called in the first 45 minutes and the action resumed with a similar amount of intensity. Detroit managed to strike first in the 50th minute. Goalkeeper Joe Kuzminsky made an initial save to deny Max Rodriguez, but the deflected ball was still in the box and Antoine Hoppenot was able to capitalize on the chance. The hosts were able to control much of the momentum in the time that followed as the Battery looked to shake things up with a wave of substitutions. Tristan Weber was among those called upon, making his Battery debut in the showing.

Williams continued to apply pressure up top with a shot in the 62nd minute that was blocked. Substitutes Mauro Cichero and Geobel Perez began providing the Battery new life on offense in bringing tempo and opportunities in search of an equalizer. Detroit would be held without a shot on target until the 87th minute when Kuzminsky was tested and made an easy save. Cichero nearly broke through with the leveling goal in the 92nd minute with a strong shot that was ultimately directly at goalkeeper Nathan Steinwascher, who made the save. That would be the final scoring chance for Charleston before the final whistle.

Battery Head Coach Conor Casey said the team’s mentality was strong despite the adversity.

“The team gave a great effort, they never quit, it was a bit of a back-and-forth game, and Detroit scored their goal at a good moment in the game for their side,” said Coach Casey. “In terms of not giving up and playing to the final whistle, I was very pleased with our mentality today.”

The Battery tactician will address with the squad the areas of improvement following the second week of game action.

“We’ll look at the tape go over what we could have done better and which moments we can improve upon,” said Coach Casey. “I think we weren’t quite as dangerous as I would’ve liked us to be and we’ve had that trouble in both games now. We have to win those pressing moments as a pressing team, so that’s something that we’ll be working on this week.

Defender Preston Kilwien applauded the squad’s tenacity in the tough conditions.

“I think we fought really well as a team, we stayed together and stuck to the game plan,” said Kilwien. “It was a tough environment with the conditions but I’m pretty proud of the way the team came together and fought for the entire 90 minutes. [The match] is definitely a learning experience, we just have to move forward and improve.”

Kilwien said the squad will look to build on the takeaways from the early experience in the season.

“The main positive takeaway is we played the game the way we wanted to play, imposing ourselves in certain areas in the field,” said Kilwien. “But, some of our goals are to get a hold of the game in the air and on the ground, and I think we didn’t do this as well today. This was a good experience to get early on and get out of the way now, so we’ll use this and work to be better.”

The Battery are on the road again for their next match when they take on Atlanta United 2 on Sunday, March 27, at Fifth-Third Bank Stadium. Charleston will then return to Patriots Point on Friday, April 1, to host Las Vegas Lights FC in the first “Holy City vs. Sin City” showdown.