The Charleston Battery fell in a fifth-straight match Wednesday, losing 1-0 to The Miami FC. The Battery had many opportunities while controlling the majority of possession through the night, but were unable the capitalize on the chances. Augustine Williams had the two closest looks with a pair of strikes that hit off the woodwork. Miami tallied their ninth clean sheet of the season as Charleston remain winless at FIU Stadium.
Action started in Miami with the Battery maintaining early possession in the opposition’s half. The Black and Yellow made advances, however, Miami caught Charleston on a counterattack to score the opening goal in the 4th minute. Romeo Parkes drove down the field and delivered a strike to the top corner that went just beyond the reach of goalkeeper Hugo Fauroux. Charleston continued to dominate possession through the quarter-hour mark, but the Miami defense held firm against the advances.
The Battery looked to find success via the flanks with Matt Sheldon on the right and Charlie Asensio on the left providing service. Asensio connected with Augustine Williams in the 21st minute with a solid cross that Williams headed towards goal. Williams’ effort would have been on target but was kick-blocked by Miami. Asensio again picked out Williams in the middle of the box in the 29th minute that Williams turned and shot, with the attempt rocking off the right post.
Charleston began to find a footing in the waning minutes of the half. Williams intercepted a Miami pass and fired another shot that hit off the woodwork in the 39th minute. On the opposite side, Asensio denied Lamar Walker a chance at doubling Miami’s lead when he charged to the edge of the six-yard box with a sliding block. The Battery held over 60% of the possession in the first 45 minutes, yet went into the interval with a 1-0 deficit to climb back from.
Play resumed with the Battery applying pressure again in search of the equalizer. Sheldon continued to lead the press from the right side and won a free kick in a dangerous spot near the byline in the 54th minute. Romario Piggott played the ball in but was unable to find a connection. Fauroux was again tested by Walker in the 64th minute with a shot on goal that resulted only in a calm save by the French shot-stopper.
DZ Harmon, who entered the match off the bench, nearly caught goalkeeper Connor Sparrow off his line with a shot over the top that went just wide of the right post in the 65th minute. The second half wore on with Miami settling in more to close out the match, limiting the chances for Charleston. The Battery’s defense firmed up as well and would hold Miami without a shot on target in the final 26 minutes of action. Piggott and Alexander Dexter, making his Battery debut off the bench, tried working through Miami but could not find the right combination. Dexter had a promising look in the 83rd minute, but his shot was too tall for the crossbar.
Despite the five additional minutes of stoppage time and high pressure, the Battery were unable to find an equalizer before the final whistle. Charleston held 64.1% of possession in the match and had the majority of passes in the final third (111 to Miami’s 78).
Despite the result, Battery Head Coach Conor Casey applauded his squad’s performance during the evening.
“I thought it was a good performance for us overall and that we played one of our better matches,” said Coach Casey. “Unfortunately, we got caught on a play out of nowhere in the first five minutes, again, and we dug ourselves a hole, which hasn’t been a good pattern. But, I thought other than that, we managed the game quite well, we moved the ball well and we had some chances.”
The Battery tactician gave his assessment on Charleston having opportunities but not being able to find the back of the net against Miami.
“We need a bit more quality on the offensive end, that’s part of the issue,” said Coach Casey. “The ability to take the opponent on one-on-one and finish chances, that’s something that we’ve lacked all year.”
Battery defender Charlie Asensio also commented on the team’s relatively strong showing but recognized the early concession cost them the game.
“We possessed the ball pretty well, we created chances in both halves, we didn’t capitalize on them but we came close,” said Asensio “We just fell asleep in the fourth minute, and we can’t allow that to happen because it makes it a lot harder on ourselves. Overall, I thought the performance was pretty good and I think we can build on it for the game on Saturday.”
Asensio was an active contributor on offense and defense and credited the team’s chemistry for enabling him to ease in quickly with the squad.
“Augi is a really good player, he has a lot of good movements off the ball, so it’s easy to find him when I’m higher up the field,” said Asensio. “One of the first things I noticed is the chemistry and how well the guys get along, and that goes a long way for someone new like me.”
Moving forward, Asensio said the team will look to build on the positives from the evening against Miami.
“It’s not easy losing, especially a game we thought we could have at least gotten a point out of,” said Asensio. “But, I think we have to leave the result in the past because it is a quick turnaround. We can use the actual performance that we had today and take that into Saturday to give us some confidence.
“Even though results haven’t been going our way, we truly believe that we can turn this thing around and pick up some wins, starting this weekend at home.”
The Black and Yellow will continue to operate on a quick timeline with their next game just three days away.
“The focus is on recovering and making sure that, from a physical standpoint, we’re ready to go for Saturday after giving everything tonight,” said Coach Casey. “We just have to keep keep working, we’re the underdogs now and that’s something we need to embrace.”
The Battery have another quick turnaround and return home to face Hartford Athletic on Saturday, July 16. It’s Co-Op Night at Patriots Point as Charleston’s popular frosé purveyor celebrates the night and keeps the frosé flowing all evening. Tickets are still available for the Saturday match via SeatGeek.com, the Battery’s exclusive digital ticketing provider.