The Charleston Battery returned home to Daniel Island and MUSC Health stadium Saturday night snapping a two-game losing streak as they cruised to a 2-1 victory over Bethlehem Steel FC.
Atlanta United Homegrown signing Andrew Carleton got his 1st start for the Battery making the 16-year-old the youngest American-born player to ever start in the USL.
The Battery attack got started early in just the 10th minute, as Ataulla Guerra played a beautiful backheel to midfielder Maikel Chang hit a strike from the top right of the penalty burying the goal to the opposite post.
Charleston nearly doubled thier lead in the 25th minute, as Carleton hit a left-footed shot off an impressive turn, but the Atlanta youngster's shot went just wide of the left post.
The Battery continued to turn the screws on the Steel defense, but Bethlehem managed to get things level in the 35th minute as Derrick Jones drew a penalty of the foul by Battery captain Shawn Ferguson. Derrick Jones converted the resulting PK which at 1st appeared to be thwarted by keeper Alex Tambakis who managed to get in front of the shot, but unfortunately luck was not on the side of the 23-year-old Greek as the ball deflected high into the back of the net.
In the 39th minute Trinidad and Tobago international Ataulla Guerra would come up big once again for the Battery, hitting beautiful volley into the back of the net off the cross by Ricky Garbanzo.
The goal by Guerra would prove to be the difference maker as the second half featured the two clubs exchanging trips into the attacking third but nothing in the way of goals.
The victory takes the Battery to the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference table, still within striking distance of a spot in the top four which would insure a match at home to start the playoffs.
MAN OF THE MATCH:
Perhaps feeling a bit snubbed after being left off Trinidad and Tobago's roster for thier World Cup qualifying match against the US, the 28-year-old midfielder had a breakout night for the Battery racking both a goal and assist Saturday. The former Central FC standout has been a pivotal piece to the Battery attack this season despite his lack of goals.
KEY TAKE AWAYS
ATLANTA'S YOUNG GUNS
Andrew Carleton put in a solid performance showing flashes of brilliance on the ball for the Battery, looking a head above the competition. Speaking on his performance Carleton said, "I had some nerves, 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."
Carleton wasn't the only Atlanta man to impress on saturday, forward Jeffery Otoo had a good showing as well coming on late in the half. Otoo looked very dangerous making some impressive runs and nearly finding the net on a couple occasions.
Tambakis also looked strong despite an unlucky bounce on the PK, Alex has found some great form as of late for the Battery.
UP NEXT: @ Richmond, Sept. 17, 5 p.m