Too little, too late for Battery in 3-4 loss to Atlanta
CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Charleston Battery fell 3-4 at home against Atlanta United 2 on Saturday to close out the June schedule. A pair of early goals from Atlanta set the tone for the evening, while the Battery battled back throughout the night to keep things close. Augustine Williams, Mauro Cichero and Geobel Perez all scored, but it was not enough to secure any points in front of a packed house at Patriots Point.
The night started with Atlanta quick to grab an early lead. The visitors found the back of the net when Tristan Trager was the benefactor of an attempted clearance by AJ Paterson. Trager intercepted the ball and tucked his shot inside the near post. Atlanta would score again in the 3rd minute when Trager broke through the back line, his first shot was saved but he scored on the rebound. The Battery looked to counter quickly when Geobel Perez fired off a shot on target in the 6th minute that forced goalkeeper Justin Garces into an athletic save.
The Battery continued to press forward as the half wore on and pulled a goal back in the 20th minute via Augustine Williams. The play started near midfield with a brilliant through ball from Leland Archer to Aidan Apodaca. Apodaca then weaved his way through the Atlanta defense for a shot on target that was saved by Garces. Williams, however, was at the right spot at the right time inside the box and poked in his seventh goal of the season off the rebound.
Both sides continued to play up tempo into the waning moments of the half. Atlanta added another goal in the 36th minute when Jackson Conway managed to score his side’s third. Charleston went into the break with a two-goal deficit but also momentum to build on in the next 45 minutes.
Play resumed with the Battery looking to eat into Atlanta’s lead. The combination of Apodaca, Perez and Romario Piggott led the charge early in the half for Charleston. The Battery pulled a goal back via Mauro Cichero in the 50th minute on a volley, assisted by Williams. The play was started by Perez on the left flank, who crossed the ball to Williams, who played the ball to Cichero in the center of the box. The goal was Mauro’s third of the season.
On the opposite end, goalkeeper Hugo Fauroux made impressive saves in the 53rd and 69th minutes. Atlanta were able to add a fourth goal in the 70th minute when Conway scored his second of the night, off a corner kick where he went unmarked. Charleston were resolute as ever and continued fighting to level the score. Williams believed he had his second goal of the game in the 78th minute, but the referee’s flag was raised for offside after he put the ball in the back of the net. Williams and Geobel continued to be a pressing force through the remainder of the half.
In the 97th minute, Geobel scored the Battery’s third goal of the night with a bullet fired from just inside the box with his right foot. Williams played the ball across the box to Geobel and Perez needed only one touch to send the ball into the top bin. The final whistle blew shortly after with the Battery’s efforts coming up just short in the end.
Battery Head Coach Conor Casey provided his assessment on the team’s effort this evening.
“We gave up two goals the first four minutes of the game, so it’s going to be tough to win a match when you defend like that from the start,” said Coach Casey. “Our guys fought to the end again, which is good but it’s not enough. Giving up four goals is not acceptable.”
Battery forward Augustine Williams echoed Casey’s disappointment.
“When you look back, it was a very disappointing night because I think we deserve more than what we got tonight,” said Williams. “Unfortunately, we were down and trying to come back all night. We fought all the way to the end, but unfortunately it wasn’t our night.”
While Williams credited the team’s resilience to fight back, he recognized the team needs a complete performance in matches.
“Every minute counts, so you’ve got to put in a full 90-minute shift,” said Williams. “We need to be better just all around for 90 minutes. And tonight, we didn’t put in a full set as a collective group.”
Charleston will continue to work on a quick timeline and look to turn the page on the road against San Antonio this Saturday, the Black and Yellow’s third game in seven days.
“We’ll have to rest up and do whatever we can to take care of our bodies and be ready to come with a better mentality to start a game on Saturday,” said Coach Casey.
“[San Antonio] is a great team, so we can’t just sit around and focus on what happened tonight, we’ve got to move on and get ready to go again,” said Williams.
After the road trip, Charleston return to Patriots Point on July 9 as the they celebrate Military Appreciation Night, presented by Hendrick Volvo Cars of Charleston. Tickets are available for the 8 p.m. fixture on SeatGeek, plus a limited number of complimentary tickets are available for military members and their families.
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