The Charleston Battery were defeated 2-0 on the road to San Antonio FC on Saturday at Toyota Field. The Western Conference leaders controlled much of the match, scoring in the first and second half to secure the three points. Charleston had moments of momentum during the start of the second half but were unable to find a breakthrough. The Black and Yellow concluded a stretch of three matches in seven days and will now have a whole week before their next game, against Birmingham Legion FC on Saturday, July 9.
The night started with San Antonio aiming for a quick start in their own home, but goalkeeper Hugo Fauroux and the Battery back line did their job to SAFC at bay. The Texas club dominated much of the possession early on while the Battery looked to get settled into the match. Santiago Patiño went for an acrobatic goal in the 15th minute, however the shot was wide of the far post.
Charleston got some momentum going mid-way through the first half when DZ Harmon initiated a counterattack after a successful challenge that led to a corner kick. The Battery opted for a short corner and Romario Piggott crossed the ball into the box that found Leland Archer. The center-back tried to open the scoring with a header, but his attempt went just outside the right post. San Antonio managed to take a 1-0 advantage in the 29th minute when Patiño scored off the rebound of a save by Fauroux.
Both sides began increasing the intensity in the remaining quarter-hour of the match, however the 1-0 scoreline held into the break.
With play resuming for the second half, the Battery began having more forward movements led along the flanks by Geobel Perez and Matt Sheldon to open up opportunities. Augustine Williams led a charge near the hour mark that led to a corner kick. The Black and Yellow went for another short corner that resulted in a wide shot from Dominic Oduro.
The intensity ticked up again just past the hour mark when San Antonio searched for a second goal. A series of headers inside the box from the hosts led to a shot off the crossbar and an opportunity to score until Enock Kwakwa cleared the ball off the goalline. SAFC were able to tally their second goal of the night moments later off a corner kick in a similar scrum that was successfully converted by Ignacio Bailone. Piggott looked to cut into their lead with a strong shot from the edge of the box in the 68th minute that ultimately went over the crossbar.
San Antonio continued to control the match as the remaining time wore on. Mauro Cichero was close to getting the Battery on the board in stoppage time, however his strike was just too tall for the crossbar. The final whistle blew shortly after as SAFC secured the night’s three points.
Battery Head Coach Conor Casey gave his assessment of the evening.
“We fought until the end, I respect our guys for their efforts, but it just wasn’t enough tonight,” said Coach Casey. “We’ve been lacking some quality and tonight was another example of that.”
Coach Casey credited San Antonio for their ability to earn the three points at stake.
“We knew San Antonio were going to play direct and they did that,” said Coach Casey. “We tried to get some numbers around them and, for the most part, we were able to deal with them. But, [San Antonio] have a very good squad, they’re physical and have experience.”
Battery midfielder Joe Schmidt voiced the team’s displeasure with how the night went.
“It’s another frustrating result, we knew going into that San Antonio were going to be very direct and physical, but we weren’t able to find the quality to stop them in key moments,” said Schmidt. “We didn’t create enough chances to really threaten them, so we are definitely frustrated in that regard.”
Unlike the schedule of the previous seven days, the Battery now have a chance to breathe with a whole week until their next match. Schmidt said the team looks forward to making the most out of that time ahead of competing in another game.
“The most important thing is getting the body feeling right after a tough and grueling week of three games,” said Schmidt. “We’ll have to also look ahead to the match against Birmingham and that’s where our focus has to shift.
“We are really trying to turn things around, the effort and attitude from everyone have been there this season. The focus is on the next match, to get our heads right and to keep moving forward.”
The Battery now return home to prepare for Birmingham Legion FC on Saturday, July 9, which is also Military Appreciation Night at Patriots Point. Tickets for the fixture, as the club celebrates active duty and veteran military members and their families, are still available via SeatGeek.com, the Battery’s exclusive digital ticketing provider.