Battery get 2-1 win over Bethlehem Steel
DANIEL ISLAND, SC - The Charleston Battery stopped its two-game losing skid with a 2-1 win over USL newcomers Bethlehem Steel FC Saturday night at MUSC Health Stadium.
After a shaky opening five minutes, the Battery settled in and took the game to Bethlehem. Maikel Chang opened the scoring in the 10th minute after good build-up through the midfield.
Justin Portillo played Atualla Guerra in down the right flank. Guerra back heeled the ball into Chang's path who slotted a low shot past goalkeeper Matthew Perrella at the back post. The goal was Chang's fifth in the league this year.
Charleston kept the pressure on Steel FC as the half wore on, but a penalty brought the visitors back into the match. Cory Burke flicked the ball past Shawn Ferguson and went to ground inside the 18, drawing a penalty. Derrick Jones converted from the spot, despite a touch from Alex Tambakis.
Guerra popped up again four minutes later, grabbing the eventual game-winning goal and capping off a great first half. Ricky Garbanzo swung a cross in from the right side and Guerra calmly volleyed it in from inside the six yard box.
"Ricky [Garbanzo] picked me out with a great cross," said Guerra. "I just did what I had to do. I kept my composure and side-footed it into the goal. "
The goal was Guerra's first in the league this season. The Trinidadian playmaker finished the match with three points, running the show from midfield.
The game opened up a bit in the second half as players on both teams tired. Despite end-to-end action and two extremely stretched midfields, the game ended 2-1 in the Battery's favor. Charleston created several quality chances in the second half, but the post and Perrella kept them out.
Andrew Carleton earned his first start in the match and grew into the game as it wore on. Carleton, who became the youngest American player in history to start a USL match Saturday night, looked extremely dangerous running at Bethlehem's back four in second half.
"I had some nerves at the start," said Carleton. "But as the game went on I kind of forgot about it and focused on playing the game and doing whatever I could to contribute to the team. It was a great atmosphere and I was happy to be able to help us get the win tonight."
The win moves the Battery into a tie for fifth place with Rochester, just a point behind fourth place FC Cincinnati and three points behind third place Charlotte. With a home playoff game within reach, Charleston has everything to play for in the remaining two regular season matches. The Battery will hit the road next weekend for a third and final match with Richmond before returning home to play New York Red Bulls II in the regular season finale.