DANIEL ISLAND, SC - The Charleston Battery defeated Atlanta United 2, 1-0, as the Club celebrated Head Coach Mike Anhaeuser's 25th anniversary Saturday night at MUSC Health Stadium. The win extends the Battery's unbeaten streak to eleven games and moves them into sole possession of second place in the Eastern Conference.
"It was hard to concentrate," said Anhaeuser after the game. "But I told my guys if they got three points that would make my day and they did, so I'm happy."
Anhaeuser made nine changes to his starting XI from Wednesday's 0-0 draw in Tampa, while Atlanta played ten MLS players throughout the match. The visitors started brightly, pressing high into the Battery's defensive third and possessing the ball well.
Former Battery striker Romario Williams created the first quality scoring chance of the game in the 24th minute. Williams drove at Charleston's defense before firing a left-footed strike on frame from 25 yards out. Odisnel Cooper, who earned his first start in a month in the match, reacted well to the shot, tipping it over the bar.
Cooper made two saves on the night and earned his second and the team's twelfth shutout of the season. With his clean sheet against ATL UTD 2, Cooper set the USL record for most shutouts in a career with 40. His record-setting clean sheet extended the Battery's shutout streak to 450 minutes.
"It's amazing," said Cooper of setting the record. "I've been here for a long time, this is my sixth season. I'm so thankful to be here with the Club and play for Coach and his staff. I'm thankful they've given me the opportunity to play here."
Ian Svantesson scored the game's only goal from a penalty in the 41st minute. The penalty came after a good spell of possession from the home side. Angelo Kelly played Svantesson in to his feet with his back to goal inside the penalty area. Svantesson laid the ball off to an onrushing Kotaro Higashi who was tripped as he drove towards goal.
Svantesson stepped up and confidently buried the penalty, sending former Battery goalkeeper Alec Kann the wrong way. The goal is Svantesson's second of the year. The 6-6 striker returned from injury Saturday night after being sidelined for six weeks .
The Battery had the better of the chances in the second half, keeping the Atlanta attack at bay for the most part. ATL UTD made a push and had a good spell between the 60th and 70th minutes where they earned several corner kicks, but the Battery defense remained compact and organized.
With the win, the Battery moves into second place in the Eastern Conference and now have a three point lead on the Pittsburgh Riverhounds who play Bethlehem Steel tomorrow. The Battery will head to Ohio for a top of the table clash with first-place FC Cincinnati next Saturday, August 18.