CHARLESTON, SC – The Charleston Battery won its first home game in over a month Saturday night, beating the Harrisburg City Islanders 1-0 at MUSC Health Stadium.
Justin Portillo’s 82nd minute penalty was the difference in the match. A pair of substitutes combined to earn the spot kick for Charleston when Romario Williams played a long through ball on the ground into the path of Emmanuel Adjetey. The Ghanian defender, making a cameo at left midfield, beat Harrisburg goalkeeper Nick Nobel to the ball and touched it around him. Nobel was left with no choice but to bring Adjetey down, forcing the referee to make a decision.
Portillo sent Nobel the wrong way on the penalty kick, converting it to his right. The goal was the midfielder’s fourth of the year, making him the second-leading scorer on the team behind Williams. The New Orleans native has calm nerves and a knack for converting penalties, all four of his goals this season have come from the spot.
The match was mostly even prior to Charleston’s late goal. Craig Foster and Paul Wilson looked dangerous all night for Harrisburg in the attack, giving center backs Taylor Mueller and Shawn Ferguson all they could handle. The veteran defensive duo and goalkeeper Alex Tambakis played well and earned a much-deserved shutout, the team’s first since May 21st.
Head Coach Mike Anhaeuser commented, “You could see we had some nerves early and missed some good chances again, but we defended very well tonight and that’s the most important thing. I wanted a shutout, I told the guys before the game let’s keep a zero on the board tonight and walk away with some points.”
The win momentarily moves Charleston into a tie for third place with FC Cincinnati who have played one less game than the Battery. The victory over Harrisburg was the first at MUSC Health Stadium since the 29-game unbeaten streak was broken by Louisville City FC on May 28th.
“This win was very important,” said Anhaeuser. “We had the two disappointing losses at home, so this one was very important. We’ve won so many games here in Charleston that you get used to it and if things don’t go well early you can see it start to affect the guys. But I think this win will alleviate some of that pressure and change things. The guys can relax a little bit, we got three points that will put us in a good spot in the standings up there towards the top.”
The Battery will travel next weekend to Canada to take on Toronto FC II then return home the following weekend for back-to-back home games against the Richmond Kickers and Rangers FC. Charleston can further solidify its spot at the top of the league with a win in Toronto before returning home to face long-time rival Richmond for the first time in 2016.
CHARLESTON: Alex Tambakis, O’Brian Woodbine (yellow card, 63rd), Taylor Mueller, Shawn Ferguson, Quinton Griffith, Maikel Chang, Justin Portillo (goal, 82nd), Zach Prince (Neveal Hackshaw, 72nd), Dante Marini (Emmanuel Adjetey, 78th), Chris Tsonis (Romario Williams, 60th), Ataulla Guerra (Ricky Garbanzo, 68th)
Unused subs: Odisnel Cooper, Forrest Lasso, Austin Savage
HARRISBURG: Nick Nobel, James Thomas, Liam Doyle, Shane Johnson, Shawn McLaws, Jose Barril, Josh Hughes (Garrett Pettis, 84th), Mouhamed Dabo, Cardel Benbow, Paul Wilson, Craig Foster
Unused subs: Keasel Broome, Shane Campbell, Yousseff Narcini, Matt Bolduc, Danny DiPrima, Chris Hill
Top Image: Justin Portillo celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal in the 82nd minute.
Vin Duffy photo