Devin Lamoureaux photo.
Charleston Battery played Atlanta United to a 0-0 draw Saturday night at MUSC Health Stadium to earn a second-place finish in the 2018 Carolina Challenge Cup.
After Columbus Crew clinched their second straight Challenge Cup trophy earlier in the day, Charleston and Atlanta took the field to battle it out for second place. Both teams started strong in the first half, creating dangerous chances at either end.
Ian Svantesson appeared to break the deadlock in the 34th minute, but what would have been his third goal in three games was waved away for offside. Ataulla Guerra, who served as the Battery’s playmaker for the majority of the match, created the opportunity after beating Atlanta’s goalkeeper and center back, but his pass to Svantesson was a step too late.
The two teams continued to trade chances following Svantesson’s near-goal and into the second half. Former Battery player Andrew Carleton created Atlanta’s best opportunity of the match in the 66th minute.
Carleton played a first-time through ball that sprung rookie Jon Gallagher free behind Charleston’s back four, but Odisnel Cooper read the play well and came off his line quickly to close Gallagher down and preserve the shutout.
“Atlanta moves the ball really well regardless of who’s playing for their team,” said Head Coach Mike Anhaeuser. “It’s very tough to defend them with the way they possess. You have to be committed for 90 minutes and I thought our guys did that.”
The the shutout clinched a second-place finish for the Battery for the first time since 2011. Charleston finished the 2018 Challenge Cup with a 1-1-1 record, a positive goal differential, and two shutouts.
Following the conclusion of CCC, the Battery will continue to prepare for their USL opener on March 17 against FC Cincinnati. Charleston will take on Georgia Southern University on February 28 at MUSC Health Stadium. The match is free and open to the public.
CHARLESTON: Odisnel Cooper, Quinton Griffith, Taylor Mueller, Skylar Thomas, Jarad van Schaik (Jay Bolt, 51), Victor Mansaray (Nico Rittmeyer, 56), Tah Brian Anunga (Angelo Kelly, 74), Neveal Hackshaw (Vincenzo Candela, 56; yellow card 76), Kotaro Higashi (Kevin Jeon, 74), Ataulla Guerra (Ryan Arambula, 56), Ian Svantesson (Kyle Murphy, 64; yellow card 85)
ATLANTA: Alec Kann, Franco Escobar (Mikey Ambrose, 60), Michael Parkhurst, Miles Robinson, Jose Hernandez (Oliver Shannon, 60), Aaron Wheeler-Omiunu (yellow card, 87), Kevin Kratz (Chris Goslin, 69), Hector Villalba (Jon Gallagher, 60; Miguel Almiron, 81), Andrew Carleton, Brandon Vazquez, Romario Williams (Julian Gressel, 81)