CHARLESTON, SC – The Richmond Kickers suffered their first defeat of the 2013 campaign, dropping a 5-2 loss to the Charleston Battery Saturday night at Blackbaud Stadium.
Charleston defender Colin Falvey and midfielder Mike Azira gave the home side an early lead with two goals in two minutes before Kickers defender Alex Lee pulled a goal back before the break. The Battery extended their lead after the restart on a Dane Kelly tally and Kickers forward Matthew Delicâte cut the deficit late in the second half. Azira added his second goal of the night and Heviel Cordoves notched the fifth and final goal in stoppage time to snap the Kickers record breaking 22-game unbeaten streak.
The Battery looked for the opening goal inside the first 10 minutes when Kelly beat his defender to the ball at the top of the box, turned and whipped a low shot on target that forced goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra into action against his former team immediately out of the gates.
The pressure continued through the 23rd minute when the home side’s offensive persistence was rewarded with the first goal of the night. Bryce Alderson took a corner, then collected the rebound and sent a curling shot right back into the mix, picking out Falvey at the six yard box who made no mistake with his header from point blank range to give his side the early lead.
Charleston doubled the score less than two minutes later when Jose Cuevas intercepted a Kickers pass into the midfield and found an unmarked Azira stationed at the top of the box. The swift midfielder split two defenders and drilled the ball into the back of the net.
The Kickers saw their first chance of the night soar harmlessly over the crossbar as midfielder Joseph Haboush attempted a distance shot that sailed high in the 34th minute before he and Stanley Nyazamba teamed up with a nice combination that sprung Alex Lee free on the right wing, only to see his determined cross deflected over the endline three minutes later.
As the end of the half approached, Kickers midfielder Sascha Görres served an inswinging corner into the crowded box from the left side. The ball pinged around before falling to William Yomby at the top of the 18 who slotted the ball through traffic. A heavily marked Matthew Delicâte attempted to get a foot on the loose ball inside the six yard box but was rebuffed by the Battery’s defense.
The Kickers pulled a goal back in first half stoppage when a cleared ball fell to Haboush 25 yards out. The rookie midfielder floated the ball over the top as an onrushing Lee leapt to head to the ball just under the crossbar.
The Battery extended their lead three minutes following the restart after earning a free kick deep on the left flank. Cuevas lined up the shot and calmly drifted a ball into the mix where his target man, Kelly, was posted six yards out, waiting to punch home the Battery’s third goal in the 48th minute.
Fighting back in the 61st minute, the Kickers nearly added a second goal when Lee’s shot from the right edge of the box was blocked by Battery goalkeeper Odisnel Cooper. As Matthew Delicâte charged in to challenge, he collided with the keeper, leaving the goal unattended but the loose ball was cleared before a follow up shot could find the open net.
Earning a free kick five minutes later, midfielder Nate Robinson delivered the ball into the teeming box. Delicâte’s header was redirected to Shane Johnson prowling at the back post but his point blank nod was snatched from midair by a leaping Cooper.
The Kickers determination paid off in the 72nd minute when Görres served in a corner from the right side. Joseph Ngwenya’s flick on header was saved by Cooper but the rebound fell to Delicâte who reached over his defender to redirect the nod to reduce the deficit.
With the equalizer in sight with less than 10 minutes remaining in regulation, Görres sliced a cross through the box, connecting with Ngwenya at the penalty spot but the Zimbabwean’s header glanced just past the left upright.
Just as the momentum shifted in the Kickers favor, the Battery added their insurance goal in the 84th minute when Zach Prince played Azira through the defense. Off on breakaway, he raced down the field, facing Dykstra 1v1 and made no mistake from 12 yards out.
With a record breaking unbeaten streak on the line, the Kickers nearly got back into the game when Görres whipped a well-placed cross into the box, swarming with targets. First, Delicate’s header rattled the woodwork and ricocheted out to David Bulow who headed the ball back to goal, only to have Cody Ellison block the ball on the line before Ngwenya skied his follow up shot.
Despite the late-game scramble, the Kickers could not overcome a stoppage time tally when Cordoves buried a hard left-footed shot from 12 yards out to dash the Kickers hopes of an unbeaten season and send the visitors home empty handed.
Box Score First Half Second Half Final
Charleston 2 3 5
Richmond 1 1 2
23rd minute: Charleston: Collin Falvey (Bryce Alderson)
25th minute: Charleston: Mike Azira (Jose Cuevas)
45th minute: Richmond: Alex Lee (Joseph Haboush)
49th minute: Charleston: Dane Kelly (Jose Cuevas)
72nd minute: Richmond: Matthew Delicâte
84th minute: Charleston: Mike Azira (Zach Prince)
90th minute: Charleston: Heviel Cordoves (Amadou Sanyang)
Battery: GK Odisnel Cooper, Emmanuel Adjetey, Colin Falvey, Cody Ellison, John Wilson, Jarod Van Schaik, Nicki Paterson (Zach Prince – 62’), Mike Azira, Bryce Alderson (Mark Wiltse – 73’), Jose Cuevas (Amadou Sanyang – 66’), Dane Kelly (Heviel Cordoves – 69’)
Kickers: GK Andrew Dykstra, Sascha Gorres, Shane Johnson, William Yomby, Alex Lee (Juan Arbelaez – 79’), Henry Kalungi (David Bulow – 79’), Luke Vercollone (Joseph Ngwenya – 62’), Mike Callahan (Matthew Delicâte – 40’), Philippe Davies, Stanley Nyazamba, Joseph Haboush (Nate Robinson – 56’)
Shots Saves Fouls Corners
Kickers: 16 Kickers: 4 Kickers: 11 Kickers: 4
Battery: 14 Battery: 2 Battery: 14 Battery: 5
49th minute: Nicki Paterson (Charleston)
89th minute: Zach Prince (Charleston)
Referee: Patrick Baker
Assistant Referees: Dustin Thorne, Brian Bozard
Fourth Official: Michael Catlett
Weather: Partly cloudy, 86º