The Charleston Battery's season came to an end Saturday night with a 3-1 loss to Nashville SC at First Tennessee Park in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Nashville will advance to play Indy Eleven in the semifinals next week.
Lobo Moloto got things started for Nashville in a first-half that featured three goals, split between the two sides. Matt LaGrassa jumped on a turnover from the Battery deep in their defensive third and picked out Moloto who was open inside the Charleston penalty area. It was a simple finish for Moloto who snuck a low shot past Joe Kuzminsky at the near post.
Zeiko Lewis responded with a converted penalty in the 39th minute to bring the Battery level. The penalty came after Angelo Kelly headed a failed Nashville clearance into the box, intended for Arthur Bosua but the forwards head was turned and it bounced off his back towards the top of the area. Nico Rittmeyer got a good jump on the ball and beat Forrest Lasso to it, with the former Battery defender sticking out a leg and bringing Rittmeyer down.
It looks as if the Battery would head into the break level, but Nashville's main man, Daniel Ríos, restored the hosts' lead just before halftime with his second goal against the Battery this season in the 43rd minute. Justin Davis whipped in a cross to a crowded penalty area and Ríos rose above the Charleston backline heading home past Kuzminsky.
Charleston chased for an equalizing goal in the second half but were unable to find the back of the net. It wasn't for a lack of chance though, beginning with AJ Paterson's strike in the 53rd minute. Lewis found the attacking wing-back with a few yards of space at the top left corner of the box and, after taking a slight touch, Paterson fired a rocket beating Matt Pickens but not the right post. Bosua came close to redirecting a ball into Nashville's net when Ataulla Guerra's 75th-minute shot was blocked and made it's way to the big man in front.
Derrick Jones put the match away with a strong individual effort, scoring Nashville's third of the match in the 88th minute. With everyone forward for Charleston, Jones collected a pass from a Nashville clearance and was off to the races. Kelly and Paterson recovered to slow Jones down but the twenty-two-year-old midfielder slipped past both defenders and eventually got a shot away while going to ground, beating Kuzminsky in the process.
Charleston end their playoff run after clinching a postseason spot in a 5-1 win at MUSC Health Stadium and ousting Ottawa in penalties on Wednesday. It was the twelfth straight postseason appearance for the Charleston Battery and the boys in Black and Yellow will look to extend their streak heading into next season.
NASHVILLE: Pickens, King (YC 38'), Davis (YC 85'), Ockford (YC 77'), Lasso, Akinyode, Washington, LaGrassa, Moloto (goal 10', Jones 81', goal 88'), Winn (Mensah 73'), Ríos (goal 43', Kimura 90+1')
Substitutes: Sparrow, Bourgeois, Kimura, Tribbett, Jones, Belmar, Mensah
CHARLESTON: Kuzminsky, Nelson (Marini 76'), Paterson, Mueller, van Schaik, Kelly, Rittmeyer (Daley 67'), Lewis (pen 35'), Higashi, Bosua (Svantesson 82'), Guerra
Substitutes: Breno, Candela, Marini, Mason, Daley, Piggott, Svantesson