The Charleston Battery fell 2-3 to Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC at Patriots Point Friday night. Multiple goals in both halves were exchanged by the sides but Pittsburgh came out on top with an unanswered goal by Alex Dixon in the 65th minute. The night featured professional debuts for goalkeeper Paul Lewis and midfielder MJ Petry.
The first half was back and forth the whole way through, but was scoreless through the first 19 minutes. DZ Harmon and Stavros Zarokostas provided forward movement into the Pittsburgh 18-yard box but were unable to convert. The Battery struck first off a set piece play in the 20th minute. Logan Gdula headed home a Zeiko Lewis free kick to put the hosts up 1-0. The goal was Gdula’s first of the season.
Pittsburgh were quick to strike back and quickly pressed back into the Battery defensive third. The Hounds were awarded a penalty following a foul drawn by Kenardo Forbes inside the box in the 22nd minute. Russell Cicerone took the penalty and converted to even the score at 1-1. Battery goalkeeper Paul Lewis, making his first career professional start and appearance, got a paw on the ball in his dive, but the attempt managed to get through. Pittsburgh would take a 2-1 lead just before the end of the half when Alex Dixon powered home a shot from the center of the box, assisted by Dani Rovira. Possession was relatively even during the half, with the Riverhounds taking a slight majority of the ball at 55%.
Play resumed with a quick start as the Battery equalized in just the second minute of the half with Romario Piggott doing the honors. Piggott received a short through ball from Gdula and gave it a one touch pass into the box towards Nicque Daley and Zarokostas. Daley nudged the ball to Stavros and his shot was slowed down by Pittsburgh goalkeeper Danny Vitiello. Piggott won the race to the ball as it slowly rolled towards the net to leave no doubt and send it home. Pittsburgh were quick to counter again, driving into the Battery 18-yard box but Lewis was there to save the shot by Louis Perez.
Lewis produced another sensational save in the 58th minute following a well-placed headed shot by Cicerone, getting vertical to redirect the ball over the crossbar and out of harm’s way. The game remained 2-2 until the 65th minute when Dixon notched a brace from the right side of the box to put Pittsburgh ahead 2-3. The Battery were reduced to 10 men when Zarokostas was shown his second yellow card of the night in the 79th minute. Geobel Perez nearly equalized for the home side off the bench with a header towards the net in the 86th minute, but Vitiello was there to make the save. The Battery had a pair of corner kicks in stoppage time, but were unable to convert. Along with Lewis’ debut, the night featured a professional debut for 17-year-old midfielder MJ Petry, who entered the game as a substitute in stoppage time.
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