TRIDENT ACADEMY FIELD, MOUNT PLEASANT: The Charleston Battery’s two younger academy teams ran off big wins this weekend while the Academy’s senior squad dropped an 0-2 decision to visiting Chargers SC.
On Saturday, the S.C. United Battery Academy U-14s improved to 2-2 on the season with a 6-2 drubbing of visiting North Carolina Alliance. Grayson Barber and William Brittelli opened the scoring, but it was forward Skyler Silverman who put the game away just after the half-hour mark, turning in two goals in two minutes.
The two clubs traded goals in the second half, with Wyatt Millard and John Rittmeyer chipping in for the Battery, but NC Alliance couldn’t erode the Battery’s four-goal first-half lead.
In Sunday’s second match, the Battery U-16s (4-2-0) fell behind the Chargers SC team from Clearwater, Fla., almost from the opening whistle. Despite the shocking start to the game, the home side scored the next three goals and pulled away with a dominant 3-1 victory.
“They scored their first time down the field on us, and they went up 1-0,” said Coach Clark Brisson. But then Austin Tuggle scored his first goal of the season on a header off a free kick, and the tide of the game shifted. “I thought that we kinda dominated play after they scored.”
The Battery pulled ahead on a Nick Wright goal off an assist from Robbie Robinson. “He kinda opened his hips up, touched it past a defender, and ripped it from about 18 yards. Hit the far post and it went in. It was a great goal.”
The team got an insurance goal with about five minutes left. “Robbie Robinson got a goal off an assist from Nick Wright,” Brisson said. “So they each scored a goal and set the other one up. “
Meanwhile, the U18s continued their run of narrow results, falling to 1-3-2 in the Southeastern Division with an 0-2 loss to Chargers SC.
“I felt like it was pretty even, but the other team made the plays in the final third that we didn’t make,” Brisson said. “It’s probably as simple as that.”
Playing on a school field patched with sand and slick with 9 a.m. dew, both teams looked sleepy in the early going. The visitors woke first, generating the first sustained attacks of the morning and stinging the Battery with a shot from an acute angle on the right side of the pitch. Forward Morgan Shepherd wove through traffic and launched a seeing-eye ball that found its way through two sets of Battery legs and beat goalkeeper Brady Allardice, who was staked to the near post.
“I thought we were kinda flat,” Brisson said. “Gave up a goal, and it seems to be about midway through the first half, we picked it up. Had some pressure on them, and probably had the ball in their area for four or five good chances in the first half, anyway. ”
The home team — moved from Blackbaud Stadium to Trident Academy by Sunday’s Oktoberfest — picked up its game as the morning wore on. But another goal, much like the first, would put the visitors up by 2.
With the Battery on the front-foot in the second half, a Charger counter-attack sprung Daniel Felman on the right wing. His shot from distance caught Allardice in an awkward position.
Down by a pair, the Battery picked up its pace and intensity, generating multiple chances through midfileder Waldo Cepeda, forward Charles Coulson, and Anson Girone. With roughly 15 minutes remaining, one of them finally found the back of the net.
The play began with Cepeda taking space down the right side of the Chargers’ defense, and when he shrugged off a hard challenge by defender Nicholas Mahoney within six yards of the byline, it drew the keeper and opened an attacking lane for Girone, trailing in the central channel. Cepeda’s square pass from the corner of the six-yard box beat keeper Joshua Karg, leaving Girone to finish a clear shot on an empty goal.
Chargers players immediately complained to the officiating crew, lobbying for an offsides call. Though the linesman never raised her flag, after conferring with her on the sideline, the referee agreed with the Chargers and waived off Girone’s score.
“That could have sparked us,” Brisson said. “Waldo was onside, but they said that Anson Girone, who is a developmental player, was behind the last defenders when Waldo played him the ball. I didn’t see it that way, but that was the call.”
As the top image on this story indicates, Brisson is likely correct. Cepeda’s pass to Girone, No. 18 for the Battery, is visible under Karg’s left elbow at the corner of the six-yard box. Mahoney, the defender on the ground in the left corner of the picture, is clearly inside the six-yard line as the pass is made. Girone has not yet reached it.
The Battery continued to push after the disallowed goal, but the game was essentially decided.
“At the 18s level, most of the games are going to be pretty close,” Brisson said. “I think we’ve got to have some better quality in the final third. We got ourselves in good positions to create and score some chances. We’re just closing the deal right now.
We have to move faster than they do. We’re just jogging around the field. We have some speed, but they didn’t execute. It just baffles me a little bit.”
TOP IMAGE: Waldo Cepeda’s assist to Anson Girone beats the Chargers’ keeper at the corner of the six on a second-half scoring play that would later be disallowed by game officials. Dan Conover photos.
Click on any image to open the gallery as a slideshow.