Charleston Battery was sharp at home from start to finish and defeated Hartford Athletic by a score of 3-1 in the first matchup of the season between the two teams.
Charleston didn’t waste much time in this one to get on the front foot, quickly reacting to a communication error from Luka Prpa and Younes Boudadi in the 13th minute. The ball rolled into the box forcing goalkeeper Yannik Oettl to come off his line and bat the ball with his hand out of the box in a diving effort. No one in teal was near the ball to clear it away, so Charleston midfielder Matthew Sheldon ran up and delivered the ball to a streaking Augustine Williams. The Sierra Leone national team member calmly tucked his left footed shot into the goal as Oettl was out of position, extending his team lead in goals to eight on the season.
Hartford responded last week against the Rowdies when they were down by a goal in the first half and did so again in the 22nd minute in Charleston. Captain Danny Barrera sailed a high ball that led Andre Lewis down the field, who then used his physicality to get past a Battery defender. With open space, the Jamaican midfielder swiftly dribbled down the field in what was a three on one man advantage for the Green and Blue. He sent a pass to Prince Saydee that nutmegged Battery defender Leland Archer, who hit his shot past keeper Hugo Fauroux to level the score at one.
With both teams maintaining an intense pace of play with many chances, it made for an entertaining first 30 minutes of play. Charleston was on the prowl for another tally, and had a great chance in the 25th minute. A free kick from outside the box on the right was sent into traffic that ended up in the feet of Joseph Schmidt. The Indiana Hoosier graduate had his volley attempt saved by Oettl back into the clutter of players in the box. Enock Kwakwa was on the other end of the rebound and boomed his left footed one touch effort into the back of the net to regain the lead for the home side.
Rashawn Dally, born and bred in Bloomfield, Connecticut, had a threatening chance on goal in the 39th minute to equalize the score for Hartford once again. His point blank rocket was stopped by Fauroux and the score remained 2-1 in Charleston’s favor after 45 minutes of play.
After a 15 minute break to regroup, Hartford needed a newfound boost of energy to get back into the game. The possession numbers were nearly identical, but the home side dominated in their ability to put the ball on target. Battery defender Carlos Asensio bended a left footed cross into the box from well outside the 18′ in the 53rd minute intended for Williams. The 6’3 forward floated in the air and redirected a flying header off the right post and past Oettl, increasing Charleston’s lead to 3-1.
The Green and Blue struggled to take control of chances in their opponents half and didn’t make their first change until the 57th minute, bringing on Ariel Martinez for Saydee.
In the 81st minute, Battery’s Sheldon was assessed a straight red card for elbowing Logan Gdula behind a play up the field. Despite the man advantage, Hartford failed to generate a dangerous chance on goal to mount a comeback, falling on the road.
Hartford Athletic is back at home next Saturday, July 23rd against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC. Tickets are available at hartfordathletic.com/tickets.
Shots (On-Target): Hartford 10 (3) – Charleston 19 (8)
Corners: Hartford 5 – Charleston 7
Fouls: Hartford 8 – Charleston 13
Offsides: Hartford 3 – Charleston 1
Possession: Hartford 50.8% – Charleston 49.2%
Passing Accuracy: Hartford 82.1% – Charleston 83.7%
Saves: Hartford 5 – Charleston 2
13′ – Augustine Williams (Matt Sheldon) 1-0
22′ – Prince Saydee (Andre Lewis) 1-1
25′ – Enock Kwakwa 2-1
53′ – Augustine Williams (Charlie Asensio) 3-1
2′ – Charlie Asensio (Yellow)
27′ – Preston Kilwein (Yellow)
38′ – Dominic Oduro (Yellow)
48′ – Conor McGlynn (Yellow)
61′ – Romario Piggot (Yellow)
81′ – Matt Sheldon (Red)
HARTFORD ATHLETIC STARTING LINEUP:
13 (GK) Yannik Oettl; 2 (DF) Younes Boudadi, 5 (DF) Tom Brewitt, 23 (DF) Modou Jadama (Tulu, 66′), 30 (DF) Joel Johnson (Logan Gdula, 76′); 10 (MF) Danny Barrera, 11 (MF) Luka Prpa, 77 (MF) Andre Lewis (Ash Apollon, 76′), 28 (MF) Conor McGlynn, 7 (MF) Prince Saydee (Ariel Martinez, 57′); 18 (FW) Rashawn Dally (Juan Carlos Obregón Jr., 66′)
CHARLESTON BATTERY STARTING LINEUP:
30 (GK) Hugo Fauroux; 23 (DF) Preston Kilwein, 20 (DF) AJ Paterson, 5 (DF) Leland Archer, 26 (DF) Charlie Ascensio (Alexander Dexter, 72′); 15 (MF) Joseph Smith, 8 (MF) Dominic Oduro (Dionysius Harmon, 84′), 13 (MF) Matt Sheldon; 10 (FW) Romario Piggot (Aiden Apodaca, 72′), 21 (FW) Enock Kwakwa (Geobel Pèrez, 73′), 9 (FW) Augustine Williams (Patrick Hogan, 90+2′)