CHARLESTON – The Charleston Battery defeated Toronto FC II 2-0 Saturday night at MUSC Health Stadium. Goals from Romario Williams and Maikel Chang helped the Battery extend its home unbeaten streak to 29 games.
Charleston started the game on the front foot and never looked back. The Battery relentlessly pressed TFC II from the first whistle, which led to an early opening goal in the tenth minute. A streaking Maikel Chang received the ball from Ricky Garbanzo down the left flank and ran at TFC II’s back four. Chang played a perfect early cross behind Toronto’s defense to the foot of Romario Williams who hammered it in at the back post to give the Battery an early 1-0 lead.
The goal was Williams third in as many games and sixth on the year. The Jamaican center forward is currently third in scoring in the entire USL.
He commented on the goal scoring run: “I’m just in a rhythm right now. I’m just trying to stay focused and bring the same energy and attitude game in and game out and try to get myself on the scoresheet. The guys have been doing well and getting me the ball in good positions, good spots to finish, and I’ve been doing my job pretty well. I’m just hoping to keep it going.“
Charleston led the way through the majority of the first half, creating the better of the scoring chances. TFC II had its best spell of possession of the entire game around the 21st minute, but it led to nothing and the Battery went into the break up a goal.
It was more of the same from Charleston in the second half as the Battery started quickly out of the locker room again. Chang scored the team’s second goal three minutes into the second 45. Zach Prince picked the ball up near the end line on the left side of the field and found Chang with a great cut back near the penalty spot. The Cuban midfielder hit a first-time left-footed shot that found the bottom corner of the goal.
Charleston saw the rest of the game out easily, thwarting any chances TFC II created before they became dangerous. The Battery’s back four looked strong throughout and were untroubled for the most part. Odisnel Cooper got the start in goal and made a fantastic save in the first half to preserve Charleston’s one goal advantage, but had little to do beyond that. The clean sheet was the Battery’s first since its match with Bethlehem Steel FC on April 24th.
For the first time this season, the Battery put together a complete performance for 90 minutes at both ends of the pitch and the result was a comfortable 2-0 win. After struggling in the attacking third in the early part of the season, Charleston is gelling offensively. The Battery have scored seven goals in three games, with five different players getting on the scoresheet.
Coach Anhaeuser: “We’re getting in behind defenses a little better and getting the easier chances. Romario finished another one off tonight and then Chang finished a nice one right at the beginning of the second half so it’s good that we have other weapons. Romario’s really causing defenses problems right now.”
Charleston’s unbeaten streak has lasted over two years with the team’s last defeat coming on May 10, 2014. Anhaeuser commented, “The big thing is we got the win at home. You’re always happy when you pick up three points. We kept the streak going, but that’s not something we’re going to worry about. We just want to get three points every home game.”
Charleston plays Villages S.C. in the second round of the U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday before going on the road next Saturday to face Carolina rival Wilmington Hammerheads.
MUSC Health Stadium — Charleston, SC
CHARLESTON BATTERY: Odisnel Cooper, Quinton Griffith, Taylor Mueller (Forrest Lasso, 45th), Shawn Ferguson (c), O’Brian Woodbine, Zach Prince (Jose Nazareno, 82nd), Justin Portillo, Neveal Hackshaw, Maikel Chang (Dante Marini, 67th), Ricky Garbanzo (Austin Savage, 75th), Romario Williams (goal, 10th) (Chris Tsonis, 68th)
Unused substitutes: Alex Tambakis, Emmanuel Adjetey
TORONTO FC II: Alex Bono (c), Wes Carpie, Mitch Tainter (yellow card, 22nd) (Nikola Statkic, 84th), Robert Boskovic (yellow card, 40th), Anthony Orsorio, Liam Fraser, Adam Bouchard (Brian James, 63rd), Aiden Daniels (Luca Uccello, 68th), Malik Johnson (Martin Davis, 63rd), Shaan Hundak (yellow card, 59th), Sal Bernal (Rich Lord Ennin, 75th)
Unused substitutes: Filippo DiBernardo, Jacob Maurutto,
TOP IMAGE: Battery midfielder Neveal Hackshaw turns with the ball at midfield. Roxy Taylor photo.