The Charleston Battery finally made their way back home to MUSC Health Stadium Saturday taking on the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, after wrapping up a tough two game road trip with a hard fought draw at Bethlehem Steel FC.
The Riverhounds have had a rough start to 2015 sitting near the bottom the Eastern Conference table. Pittsburgh came into Saturdays match with just two days rest, after managing to play Louisville to a 2-2 draw on Wednesday . At first glance the draw may look like a great result on the road for the struggling Riverhounds. But Pittsburgh squandered what could have been a crucial 3 points on the road, giving up a late equalizer to a shorthanded Louisville.
The opening minutes saw both teams play each other evenly equally exchanging possession, but it didn't take long for the home side to tilt the field in it's favor.
Around the 15th minute mark the Battery put their foot on the accelerator finding a slew of chances starting with a Chang through ball finding a wide open Romario Williams, But Pittsburgh keeper Hunter Gilstrap came up with first of series of clutch saves.
Overall the Battery looked fantastic creating chances in the attacking 3rd, rediscovering the chemistry and creativity they displayed in the first couple of matches this season. But despite dominating possession, the Battery once again lacked the ability to finish.
On the team's Struggle to find the net, Midfielder Justin Portillo:
"that's just part of the game, hopefully as the season goes on we will get more in a rhythm and they'll start going in."
Ataullah Guerra had another great night at the attacking midfield position, where he has played a key role in boosting the Battery's attack.
Despite Charleston's dominance in possession the Riverhounds managed to draw first blood, with Romeo Parks making the most of bit of bad defending, managing to break past the Battery back line and nailing his shot for the go ahead goal.
At the 35th minute Guerra looked to strike back feeding a great ball in to Romario Williams, but Williams' shot just missed, sailing inches high of the top left corner of the goal.
The shot was one of many for a struggling Williams, who failed to capitalize on an abundance of threats on goal.
The Battery went into Halftime down 1-0. A disappointing end to a half that could have easily seen Charleston score two or three goals.
The 2nd half opened with Pittsburgh defending much better as a unit, doing a much better job of challenging Charleston on the ball.
The Battery looked a bit sloppier in possession, with Guerra coming off at the half after tweaking his knee, struggling to find their passes. It didn't take long however for the Battery to adjust with Garbanzo checking in for the injured Guerra and providing a vital spark to the Battery attack.
In the 62nd minute Garbanzo showed that spark, drilling a great pass out to Chang on the left flank. Chang then made a great run just outside the penalty area displaying great bit of footwork, but his shot failed to find the net going just wide of the far post.
Just moments later the Battery finally equalized, with Justin Portillo converting on a penalty of a foul drawn by Hackshaw.The penalty would save a draw for the Battery, who in all honesty, should have earned an easy three points at home.
Coach Anhaeuser on the draw:
"We had probably our best overall performance of the year so far. We just didn't get the result in the end. In the first half and they caught us on the counter so it was really disappointing not to get the three points. The thing is we were able to get a goal back and tie it and just unlucky not to get another one."
MAN OF THE MATCH:
Although he came off at the half injured, Guerra made a big difference at midfield for the Battery and was the driving force behind the Charleston attack.
KEY TAKE AWAYS
JUST CAN'T FINISH
The Battery have been struggling to find the net. Williams in particular. Hopefully with Garbanzo back to 100% and the addition of Chris Tsonis, Charleston will start finding a way to get the ball in the net.
The Battery will need Guerra healthy ASAP. Looking at him after the game the injury didn't appear to be anything serious, but it's definitely something for Battery supporters to keep an eye on.
@ Rochester Rhinos 5/6 7 p.m