Arthur Ellis photo
The Charleston Battery defeated the Richmond Kickers, 3-0, at MUSC Health Stadium Saturday night to extend their unbeaten streak to eight games.
The Battery started well for the second consecutive match at home. The hosts scored in the 15th minute after a Richmond turnover in midfield. The Battery countered following the turnover, finding O’Brian Woodbine in the middle of the field 40 yards from goal. Woodbine had space to turn and play Nico Rittmeyer through on goal. Rittmeyer took a touch and calmly curled a shot around goalkeeper Travis Worra to score his first ever professional goal.
Woodbine played creator again for the Battery’s second goal just before halftime. Ataulla Guerra switched play and found the Jamaican defender out wide on the right. Woodbine drove towards the endline before playing a low cross through the six yard box. Worra got hands to the cross but parried it into Rittmeyer’s path. The second-year forward finished the tap in for his second goal of the night.
“We’re just clicking,” Rittmeyer said after the match. “Ataulla and Gordon have been great up front, but we’ve gotten goals from everywhere. That shows that if someone isn’t scoring someone else can step in, which can help take some of the pressure off those guys. Other teams are keying in on Ataulla and that’s opened things up for the rest of us.”
The Battery carried the attacking momentum over into the second half and put the game out of reach in the 51st minute. An exchange between Leland Archer and Tah Brian Anunga on the right sideline sprung Archer free heading towards the endline. With room to cross, Archer delivered a perfect ball to Guerra on the back post. Guerra nodded it in to score his league-leading 12th goal of the season and fifth in six games.
Joe Kuzminsky made five saves in the match, picking up his eighth clean sheet of the season. Kuzminsky made a double save in the 81st minute, denying Neil Hlavaty from point blank range to preserve the team’s ninth shutout.
The win over Richmond is the Battery’s fourth straight, tying the team’s longest win streak of the season. With the win, the Battery closed the gap on first-place FC Cincinnati, who did not play Saturday night, to six points. The two teams will meet on August 18 at Nippert Stadium.
Following Saturday’s match, the Battery will head out on the road for back-to-back away games against North Carolina FC and Tampa Bay Rowdies before returning home to take on Atlanta United 2 on August 11.
CHARLESTON - Joe Kuzminsky, Leland Archer, Taylor Mueller, Neveal Hackshaw, O’Brian Woodbine, Tah Brian Anunga, Angelo Kelly, Jarad van Schaik, Gordon Wild (Victor Mansaray, 66), Nico Rittmeyer (goal, 15, 48), Ataulla Guerra (goal, 51; Patrick Okonkwo, 74)
Substitutes - Odisnel Cooper, Jay Bolt, Skylar Thomas, Ryan Arambula, Kotaro Higashi
RICHMOND - Travis Worra, Scott Thomsen, Austin Yearwood (Neil Hlavaty, 73), Conor Shanosky, Mekeil Williams, Braeden Troyer, Brian Sriver, Greg Boehme (Fred Owusu Sekyere, 55), Raul Gonzalez, Yudai Imura (Guiseppe Gentile, 55) , Luiz Fernando
Substitutes - Trevor Spangenberg, Matt Bolduc, Koby Osei-Wusu, Brandon Eaton