Battery, Atlanta Share Points in 1-1 Draw
KENNESAW, Ga. - The Battery earned a point on the road Wednesday night in a 1-1 draw against Atlanta United 2. Through a rainy evening in Kennesaw, Ga. the Battery were looking up after an early Atlanta goal. A Robbie Crawford second half equalizer was enough to secure the point as the Battery's road trip continues on to Miami this Saturday.
It was a rainy first half at Fifth Third Bank Stadium as the weather and field conditions played a role throughout the action. Both sides started the contest getting a feel for the playing surface and each other. Robbie Mertz provided the only attempt through the first 10 minutes with a shot high over the crossbar. Atlanta opened the scoring in the 11th minute when Jackson Conway intercepted an errant pass by Burke Fahling at the edge of the box. From there, Conway sent in a strong strike to the bottom left corner of the net. Angelo Kelly looked to respond minutes later with a shot from the edge of the box, however the attempt went right to the arms of goalkeeper Rocco Rios Novo.
The Battery were undeterred in searching for an equalizer as the half progressed. Claudio Repetto had a good look in the 34th minute following a dribble along the edge of the box. Repetto sent in a stern shot to the bottom left corner of the net, but Rios Novo was there to make the save. Repetto again had a chance in the 40th minute off a Fahling cross, however the shot was also saved. Although the Black and Yellow pressed for their first goal of the night before the break, the Atlanta defense held firm, led by Rios Novo playing as a sweeper keeper which Charleston had not seen yet this year.
Atlanta came out firing after play resumed with a shot by Conway that required Kuzminsky to make a save in the 47th minute. Zeiko Lewis and Stavros Zarokostas also contributed shots while Charleston looked to apply pressure. Triumph arrived in the 60th minute when Robbie Crawford leveled the terms with a curler from outside the box and to the far post. Kelly assisted Crawford for the score with a smart pass from the byline. The equalizer was the 1,000th goal of the USL Championship season and his third with the Battery.
As substitutes began to filter into the game, Charleston too began to raise the pressure with the fresh legs coming on and as the team settled more into the game. DZ Harmon and Josh Penn were quick to make their presence felt, with Harmon taking a shot in the 69th minute that was set up by Penn. Harmon again had a pair of shots in the 77th and 79th minute with neither converting. Penn registered a shot of his own in the 86th minute while trying to find a breakthrough. Geobel Perez narrowly missed a second goal for the Battery at the 90 minute mark as his curling shot from the edge of the box rattled off the crossbar. In the dying moments of stoppage time, Penn came close to a goal after working his way into the box following a pass from Harmon, but Penn's shot was just wide hitting the side of the net. The Black and Yellow would settle for the hard-earned point on the road while looking ahead to The Miami FC on Saturday.
Battery Head Coach Michael Anhaeuser delivered his thoughts on the night's performance, crediting his team's resilience in the face of an early deficit.
"The guys settled in and really started doing a lot of things better towards the end of the first half," said Anhaeuser. "Coming out to the second half, we started pushing forward very well and got the equalizer. You saw the ability to really fight back, especially with the subs coming in. The guys did a nice job."
The night featured a host of the Battery's younger players, particularly late in the game, which Anhaeuser commended their ability to make an impact against a tough Atlanta side.
"Josh Penn, DZ Harmon, Geobel Perez and Joel Bunting came in and really picked it up, we made a couple of adjustments and the guys got forward," said Anhaeuser. "We got the goal, but we created enough to get two or three. So, I'm happy about that because we're going to need a goal or two from them on Saturday in Miami."
In addition to Crawford's goal being the 1,000th of the 2021 USL Championship season, it was his second of the campaign and third overall with the Black and Yellow.
"It was a nice feeling, I feel like I've been getting good possessions," said Crawford. "That's always a pleasing aspect but it's a little hard to enjoy it because we didn't get the win in the end. Hopefully I can add a few more and keep helping the team."
The team will take the point and look to build on it as the playoff race heats up towards the home stretch of the season.
"We've got one more point than we had at the start of the week, so if we end the week with four points at the end of this trip, then we'll be in good shape," said Crawford. "The goal is to win every game and I think we're capable of doing it, we created enough to win the game, we didn't give them too many chances."
The Battery will stay on the road following the draw to take on The Miami FC on September 18 at Riccardo Silva Stadium, before returning home to Patriots Point next week. Robbie Crawford will miss Saturday's contest due to yellow card accumulation.
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