Photo courtesy James Loving / Richmond Kickers
RICHMOND. Va. – The Charleston Battery scored twice in the final 20 minutes to take a 2-1 victory against the Richmond Kickers on Saturday night at City Stadium. Charleston forced the first serious save of the game in the 16th minute from a corner, as a shot by Chris Tsonis was denied by Kickers goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra. The Battery’s Romario Williams then hit the right post in the 23rd minute, while Ataullah Guerra shot just wide after a punched clearance by Dykstra fell to him just inside the penalty area. The Kickers took the lead in the 34th minute, however, as Yudai Imura converted from the penalty spot after the Battery were whistled for a handball in their penalty area. The Battery came close to an equalizer midway through the second half when substitute Andrew Carleton curled a shot just wide of the right post, but pulled level with 19 minutes to go when Jeremy Ebobisse set up Williams for a strong finish from 10 yards. The Kickers almost regain the lead six minutes later when Conor Shanosky’s header was saved by Battery goalkeeper Alex Tambakis, and then saw Brian Ownby first have a shot saved by Tambakis, then hit the post, and then send his third finish wide. The Battery grabbed victory with four minutes to go, however, as Maikel Chang’s shot from 25 yards found the right corner of the net.
34’ – RIC – Yudai Imura (PK)
71’ – CHS – Romario Williams (Jeremy Ebobisse)
87’ – CHS – Maikel Chang (Andrew Carleton)
Three Things That Matter:
1. The Battery were in danger of suffering a frustrating afternoon on the road with 20 minutes to go at City Stadium, but a big final push saw the side take a big victory against its biggest rival thanks to goals by two of the club’s top three scorers kept the side’s hopes of a playoff game alive for the moment. The Battery had the better chances for most of the first half, only to go behind from the penalty spot, but Romario Williams’ 10th goal of the season and Maikel Chang’s sixth left Charleston to hope for some help from the Rochester Rhinos tonight to keep the Charlotte Independence within reach ahead of next Saturday’s action.
2. The Kickers didn’t look as incisive going forward as the Battery for most of the game, but missed out a massive opportunity take the lead late on when a good pass by Sunny Jane sprang Brian Ownby into the left side of the penalty area. The Kickers midfielder got three bites at the cherry, but had the first saved by Battery goalkeeper Alex Tambakis, the second come off the left post, and the third – albeit from a tight angle- go across the face of goal and wide of the right post, a sequence that might linger in the memory a while.
3. Ownby and Jane both had positive impacts as substitutes for the Kickers, but the Battery appeared to get a good boost from the changes they made in the second half, particularly the introductions of Atlanta United FC loanees Andrew Carleton and Jeremy Ebobisse. Carleton looked composed and connected well in the midfield, providing the pass that led to Maikel Chang’s winner, and while Ebobisse had a couple of missteps, he did set up the Battery’s opening goal with a smart pass to Romario Williams that the Jamaican forward fired home.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Maikel Chang, Charleston Battery – Chang’s goal gave the Battery victory with his late strike as Charleston finished the season undefeated against its longest-standing rival with a 2-0-1 record.
Richmond Kickers at Wilmington Hammerheads FC – Sept. 24, 7 p.m. ET, Legion Stadium
Charleston Battery vs. New York Red Bulls II – Sept. 24, 7:30 p.m. ET, MUSC Health Stadium