Michael Wiser photo.
Charleston Battery defeated Major League Soccer side Minnesota United, 1-0, at MUSC Health Stadium in their opening match of Carolina Challenge Cup Saturday night.
New signing Ian Svantesson scored the game's only goal in stoppage time of the first half after the teams traded possession in the middle third of the field for the majority of the opening 45 minutes. The goal was Svantesson’s first in a Battery jersey.
The scoring chance came after a Quinton Griffith cross bounced around the 18-yard box and fell to Neveal Hackshaw. The Trinidadian midfielder struck the ball towards Bobby Shuttleworth’s goal and Svantesson flicked it past the goalkeeper to put the home side ahead.
“I knocked the initial cross down and let some of the more skillful guys get the ball in a dangerous spot and I was just in the right place at the right time, which is my job,” said Svantesson of his first Battery goal.
The two teams exchanged chances throughout the second half after both coaches made wholesale changes. Minnesota’s best scoring opportunity of the match came in the 73rd minute when Pangop Frantz got on the end of a cross at the back post, but goalkeeper Odisnel Cooper did well to come off his line and smother the shot.
Minnesota United were forced to play down a man when Collen Warner received his second yellow card in the 83rd minute for pulling back Patrick Okonkwo on a counter attack. Led by captain Taylor Mueller, the Battery saw out the final stages of the match to pick up three points in their Carolina Challenge Cup opener.
“When you’re in a group of four and you get a win in your first game it puts you in a good position for the rest of the tournament,” said Battery Head Coach Mike Anhaeuser. “We’ve never won Challenge Cup before, so this is an exciting win that sets us up to potentially do something special this week.”
The win puts Charleston in a tie for first place with Columbus Crew SC who beat Atlanta United, 3-1, in the first match of the day. The two first place teams will meet on match day two of Carolina Challenge Cup on Wednesday, February 21 at 5:00 PM. Atlanta United and Minnesota United will follow at 7:30 PM. Tickets are available at tickets.charlestonbattery.com.
Charleston Battery Box Score:
CHARLESTON - Odisnel Cooper, Quinton Griffith (Jay Bolt, 46), Taylor Mueller (yellow card, 31), Skylar Thomas (Kyle Bjornethun, 66), Jarad van Schaik (O’Brian Woodbine, 46), Kotaro Higashi (Kevin Jeon, 57), Neveal Hackshaw (Ryan Arambula, 46), Tah Brian Anunga (Vincenzo Caldena, 46), Nico Rittmeyer (Victor Mansaray, 46), Ataulla Guerra (Patrick Okonkwo, 46; yellow card, 56), Ian Svantesson (goal, 45; Kyle Murphy, 46; Manolo Sanchez, 79)