Battery defeated by New Mexico in a 0-2 loss
CHARLESTON, SC — The Charleston Battery lost their second game of the month at home in three games on Saturday after a 0-2 loss to New Mexico United. The black and yellow rival club scored the opening goals of each half for the difference as Charleston were unable to capitalize on mounting chances throughout the night.
Charleston and New Mexico kicked off under glorious Lowcountry skies with temperatures in the 70s. The visitors were able to get ahead in the 5th minute when Neco Brett found space in the penalty area of 18 yards from the Battery and made a shot in front of everyone. Charleston began to gain a foothold on the quarter hour, making runs into New Mexico’s defensive third. Andrew Booth registered the Battery’s goal attempt then, firing a shot on target from the top of the penalty area that forced goalkeeper Alex Tambakis into a decisive save.
New Mexico looked to add a second goal in the 38th minute, however, goalkeeper Hugo Fauroux made a diving effort to redirect the ball away from his net. Another crucial defensive play came minutes later when Brett St. Martin made a goal-line save to prevent Chris Wehan’s last-second shot. The battery almost equalized in the final minutes of half-time when Booth picked Aidan Apodaca inside the box. Apodaca sent a headshot which was saved by Tambakis.
As the visitors took a 0-1 lead at the break, Charleston held the majority of the ball in the first half (53.2%) and registered more assists in the opposing half (113-98).
Although Charleston had been gaining momentum before the interval, New Mexico quickly added their second goal of the night just 16 seconds from the start of the new half when Wehan found the back of the net. The hosts looked to react when Fauroux connected with Apodaca from a goal kick in the 50th minute, but the striker was unable to fire on the frame. The Battery advanced into New Mexico’s defensive third but were unable to crack the code to pull out a goal.
The combination of Matt Sheldon, Booth and Apodaca continued to drive the Battery offense forward. Sheldon registered a shot in the 66th minute which was blocked. Augustine Williams looked promising on a counterattack down the left side and went for a frame attempt in the 73rd minute. The shot was saved by Tambakis as Williams appeared to slide halfway down the slippery surface. The clear opportunities started to fade and Joe Schmidt registered Charleston’s last shot in the 85th minute before the final whistle.
A redeeming moment on the night was when DZ Harmon returned to action for the first time since March 28 against Atlanta United 2 as a 77th-minute substitute.
Battery head coach Conor Casey praised his team’s ability to create chances throughout the competition despite the unfavorable scoreline.
“We had a lot of chances tonight which was good, but we couldn’t convert them when we needed to,” coach Casey said. “I think our luck creation was definitely up from previous games, which is a good thing.”
Coach Casey, however, insisted the team needed to create chances throughout the game.
“I think the team showed a good reaction towards the end of the first half and there were times in the second half where we had good periods,” coach Casey said. “But overall, you have to do it for the full 90 minutes, and that’s where we’re lacking.”
Battery defender Preston Kilwien attributed the team’s moments of success to his pitch.
“When we play fast and play on the ground, I think we have a lot of success,” Kilwien said. “I think we just have to keep working on these things and then it will eventually work out.”
Kilwien was also back in action after missing the previous two matches and said he felt good on his return.
“It went well, I’ve been looking forward to coming back for two weeks now,” Kilwien said. “While it’s nice to be back with the guys, I wish I could have made it tonight.”
Coach Casey and Kilwien both praised the strong crowd support at Patriots Point, which included another sold-out fan section.
“It was awesome, we love the support,” coach Casey said. “We want to reward them with good results, but at the moment they don’t get any, so it’s disappointing for us.”
“The support was great again tonight, I just wish I could have done it for them,” Kilwien said.
The Battery will wrap up its May home stand in a week with the Lowcountry summer kicking off at Patriots Point when Miami FC visit Patriots Point on Saturday, May 21. Fans can look forward to summer festivities at the Breeze Airways pavilion and a giveaway drum summer koozie for the first 500 fans through the doors. Tickets are available on SeatGeek, Battery’s exclusive digital ticketing provider.
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