Charleston Battery opened the 2020 USL Championship season with a 1-0 win over Atlanta United 2 on Sunday afternoon.
It was a quick start for Charleston, who threatened Atlanta's goal thirty seconds into the match. Zeiko Lewis played a brilliant ball in towards Dante Marini, who was inches away from latching on to the pass and taking a quick touch around the keeper for what would have been a tap into an empty net. ATLUTD2 responded with a chance of their own three minutes later. Amir Bashti picked out Jack Gurr with a perfect through ball that split Charleston's backline, but Gurr's shot went wide of the left post.
Despite early chances on both ends, Atlanta and Charleston played to a scoreless opening half, going into the locker room 0-0. Charleston looked the more dangerous side in the first forty-five minutes, controlling possession and finishing better chances. It didn't take long for Charleston's quality to show through with Lewis continuing to look dangerous going forward. Lewis forced a penalty call in the 62nd minute beating an ATLUTD2 defender down the right-wing and crossing the ball into the box where it hit the hand of an ATLUTD2 defender.
Lewis would step up and convert on the penalty giving Charleston a one-goal advantage, a lead they would hold through the final whistle. Lewis, who scored eight goals for the Battery last season, looked confident throughout and should continue to feature as Charleston's focal point of attack.
Charleston finished with ten shots, three of which were on target. Phil Breno, who made his third USL Championship start, finished the afternoon strong picking up his first career clean sheet. It was a straight forward outing for the second year goalkeeper who made just one save on the afternoon. Of Atlanta's fourteen total shot attempts, only one was on target. The match finished with a possession split of 55% to 45% in favor of ATLUTD2.
A number of first-year players made their Charleston debuts against ATLUTD2. Rennico Clarke and Logan Gdula started in Sunday's win, playing 90 minutes and 81 minutes, respectively. Their contributions on the defensive end helped Charleston to their first clean sheet of the year. Midfielder Robbie Crawford played 14 minutes in his first appearance for the Black and Yellow, coming on late for Lewis.
Next Up: Charleston takes on Birmingham Legion on Sunday, March 15th, at 5:00 P.M. EST.
How to Watch: Join us at Rusty Bull Brewing for our next watch party or catch the match live on ESPN+.
ATLANTA: Lundgaard, Gurr, Bello (Steedman 45'), Tubbs, Jadama (C), Kamdem Fewo, Wolff (Gannon 63'), Bashti (YC 57', Jawneh 77'), Reilly, Fernando, Goodrum
Substitutes: Conway, Gannon, Jawneh, Reyes, Steedman
CHARLESTON: Breno, Nelson, Clarke, Archer, Gdula (YC 40', Cox 81'), Piggott, Kelly (YC 21'), Paterson, Marini (C), Lewis (pen. 63', Crawford 76'), Bosua (Daley 65')
Substitutes: McCauley, Nembhard, van Schaik, Adesodun, Crawford, Cox, Daley