Battery victorious in 3-0 win over Riverhounds
First-half goals pave way for second victory of 2022
CHARLESTON, S.C. - The Charleston Battery secured three points Saturday in convincing fashion in a 3-0 victory over Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC.
First-half goals by Augustine Williams, Andrew Booth and Romario Piggott, along with a commanding defensive performance in the second half, paved the way to victory for the Battery. The victory capped off Pride Night at Patriots Point as the home crowd celebrated early and often throughout the evening.
The Battery got off to a strong start to the night and needed only two minutes to open the scoring. Charleston’s high press forced Pittsburgh into a hazardous backward pass that ended up right at the feet of Augustine Williams. From there, Williams needed just a few touches to gather himself at the top of the box and then bury the opening goal. It was the fifth goal of the season for the Sierra Leone international.
Charleston continued their high-tempo play and Pittsburgh was eager to find an equalizer on the opposite end as the half wore on. Both sides made threatening advances into each other’s defensive thirds, but the score line remained 1-0 through the half-hour mark.
Things picked up again in the waning moments of the half as the Battery’s confidence was plentiful. Andrew Booth doubled the lead in the 38th minute when he connected with Romario Piggott’s corner kick. The goal was Booth’s first with the Battery and in the USL Championship. Charleston kept their foot on the gas into stoppage time and this time it was Booth providing service to Piggott for the goal. Andrew connected with Romario on a perfect through ball, and the Panamanian midfielder chipped goalkeeper Jahmali Waite for his first goal of the season.
It was the Battery’s best opening half of the season and they entered the interval with their most first-half goals of a game in 2022. While the Battery dominated the score line, possession and passing were relatively even between both sides.
Play resumed with Pittsburgh seeing the first of several opportunities of the half. In the 54th minute, William Eyang led an advance while carrying a fortunate bounce up the right side of the box. Battery defender and ex-Hound Preston Kilwien, however, tracked back and delivered a sliding block to deny Eyang a chance to cross. Battery goalkeeper Hugo Fauroux, who had had a slower day at the office to that point, was called upon to make a diving save on a low shot from the left side in the 60th minute.
Charleston looked to add to the lead just past the hour mark through five minutes of excellent passing and transitional play. Piggott moved the ball forward with a pass threaded through three Pittsburgh defenders to Williams and Augi delivered a strong strike that went right to Waite. Moments later, Matt Sheldon wove a cross to the top of the box to find EJ Johnson, who then quickly played it back to Booth. Andrew’s shot would be ultimately deflected wide right of the post.
The final 10 minutes would see the Battery turn in their strongest defensive effort of the night, as the Hounds’ chances opened up further with six corner kicks in that span. Fauroux would get two strong hands on the ball off a corner kick in the 80th minute to deny Pittsburgh. A minute later, the shot-stopper came out of his box for a calculated risk to make a headed clearance on a bouncing pass before the Hounds could pounce on it. Pittsburgh came close in the end, hitting the woodwork several times, but the Battery back line stood strong and cleared the ball out of danger each time.
Charleston held firm to close out the 3-0 victory, their biggest win of the season and second clean sheet of 2022.
Battery Head Coach Conor Casey was elated with his team’s complete performance throughout the evening.
“I’m super proud of this team, they came out tonight with unbelievable intensity and dedication,” Coach Casey said. “Happy for the fans and for the players. We know [Pittsburgh] are a very, very good team and we played well against a very good team, so this should give us confidence that we can continue to do that.”
Coach Casey believes tonight’s victory was in the making after a better run of form in the previous two matches.
”I do think this has been a culmination of that progress,” Casey said. “Tonight, we were able to put in a really full performance, especially in the first half. Then, to be able to have zero on the scoreboard and not get scored against, after being under some pressure, it’s the mentality of this group. Their grit and determination were unbelievable.”
Battery midfielder Andrew Booth echoed Coach Casey’s sentiment in this match being the team’s best showing of the year.
“It feels good to get a win and I think for us, amongst the group, we know that the last few games we were playing a lot better,” Booth said. “We knew it was a matter of time and today everything just came together. We got the first goal, got the second, the third. From there, it was about coming out in the second half with the same intensity and getting the result out of the game.”
Booth recounted what went into the second goal, which was his first with Charleston.
“I want to thank Brett [St. Martin], because we switch roles on set pieces,” Booth said. “I like the front post, I was supposed to have the back post, but I told him, ‘let’s switch,’ because he likes the back post. Then, it was a great delivery from Romario.”
The midfielder said the team was happy to celebrate the win with the fans, who he said earned the victory in addition to the squad.
“It means a lot, and finally we can go clap for them with a smile again,” Booth said. “It’s been tough, but they’re still here, even after however many losses. They’re always supporting us and, for us, we always want to perform for them, so we really appreciate that.”
Coach Casey also dedicated the win to the fans and their’ relentless support all year long.
“They are one of the big reasons why we play, they’ve supported us the whole year long, through our struggles,” Coach Casey said. “They’ve come out and continued to support us for 90 minutes every single game. We’ve been wanting to have them give them something to celebrate, so tonight, it just feels so good to be able to give them a little bit back what they’ve given us so far this season.”
The Battery will look to build on win as they hit the road for a challenging two-game stretch visiting the Tampa Bay Rowdies on June 18 and FC Tulsa on June 25 before returning to Patriots Point for a midweek matchup against Atlanta United 2. Tickets for the Wednesday night southeastern showdown are available now on SeatGeek, the Battery’s exclusive digital ticketing provider.
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