Photo courtesy Adrian Kraus / Rochester Rhinos
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The Charleston Battery snapped a seven-game winless streak as Justin Portillo scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory against the Rochester Rhinos at Capelli Sport Stadium on Saturday night. Rochester’s Darius Madison had the first good chance of the game in the 25th minute, but his shot from the right side of the penalty area was comfortably saved by Battery goalkeeper Odisnel Cooper. The Rhinos threatened again a few minutes later, but Jalen Brown scuffed his finish off a low cross from the right, but neither side was able to break the deadlock before the halftime break. The Battery almost took the lead in the 59th minute as a redirection from Romario Williams was cleared off the line by Joe Farrell, and moments late Maikel Chang had a low shot saved by Rhinos goalkeeper Dan Lynd. Rochester again went close in the 64th minute as Brown’s shot was blocked wide, while Williams forced a good save from Lynd for the Battery with 11 minutes to go before Bradley Kamdem sent the rebound behind before Chang could pounce on the rebound. The Battery took the lead with seven minutes to go, however, as Portillo’s low free kick from the left eluded everyone and found the net. The Rhinos almost grabbed an equalizer in stoppage time as Brown’s header was cleared off the line by Battery captain Taylor Mueller, and Jochen Graf headed over the bar moments later for the hosts. Charleston held firm, however, to return home with all three points.
83’ – CHS – Justin Portillo
Three Things That Matter:
1. Rochester looked the more dangerous side in the opening half, but its finishing let it down when the openings to take the lead arrived as Battery goalkeeper Odisnel Cooper was able to handle all three efforts comfortably. The Rhinos have slowed offensively in the past two games, and while they threatened on occasion on Saturday night, they certainly seem to need more of a spark to get the attack going again as they pursue a top-four finish in the East.
2. The main tenet of the Rhinos’ game-plan was to set up and try and limit Romario Williams, but the Jamaican forward still found his moments to look dangerous, especially as the game began to open up more in the second half. Williams was denied by a good trailing clearance by Rhinos defender Joe Farrell after his redirected finish had beaten goalkeeper Dan Lynd, and his long-range effort from 25 yards also forced a good save by Lynd late on. Williams was held scoreless on Saturday, but his threat was evident on regular occasions.
3. Usually when the Charleston Battery get a free kick on the flank, Justin Portillo will look to find one of his big targets with a precise cross to be headed home. Against the Rhinos, Portillo’s elected to send his 83rd-minute free kick low, looking for a near-post redirection from his runners. It didn’t pay off with a finish, but the ball ended up in the net regardless as the trickiness of the ball left Rhinos goalkeeper Dan Lynd frozen in anticipation of the redirect on goal. While the goal might have appeared fortunate, the Battery’s play in the second half likely warranted their victory, and the end of a seven-game winless streak.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Justin Portillo, Charleston Battery – Portillo’s late goal had a slice of luck attached to it, but the midfielder linked up play well throughout as the Battery earned a big road victory.
Rochester Rhinos vs. Saint Louis FC – August 26, 6:05 p.m. ET, Capelli Sport Stadium
Charleston Battery at Richmond Kickers – August 26, 7 p.m. ET, City Stadium