Colin Falvey and Dane Kelly scored off headers, super-sub Heviel Cordoves recorded his seventh goal, and midfielder Michael Azira found the back of the net twice as the Charleston Battery ended Richmond’s 22-match undefeated streak with an explosive 5-2 beating.
The night also featured spectacular assists by Bryce Alderson, Zach Prince (not credited by the official scorer) and Amadou Sanyang, plus two more for Jose Cuevas. But the outcome largely hinged on gutsy performances by players for both teams who had run 90 minutes on Friday night, the Battery in a 1-2 loss at Wilmington, the Kickers in a 1-0 win at Charlotte. Defenders Cody Ellison and Emmanuel Adjetey played the full 90 for the second night in a row, and Falvey went the full 90 after playing 82 minutes on Friday.
Richmond clawed back a goal in first-half stoppage time, and veteran target man Matt Delicate pulled the Kickers back to within a goal (3-2) in the 75th minute. But Ariza made the play of the night in the 84th minute, taking a deft pass from substitute midfielder Zach Prince in the open field, holding off a defender bearing down on his hip, and forcing former Battery goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra to come off his line. With Dykstra committed, Azira chipped softly into the goal, breaking the Kickers’ hopes.
Charleston (39 points, 23 matches) moved to within a point of third-place Harrisburg (40 points, 22 matches), with just three regular season games remaining.
The Battery opened their season with a 1-4 defeat at Richmond on April 13.
Full game wrap on Sunday.
TOP PHOTO: Midfielder/forward Jose Cuevas pushes the ball up the field in the first half. The young Californian accounted for two assists on the night. Dan Conover photo.