The Charleston Battery fell 6-3 to Hartford Athletic in a dramatic shootout at Trinity Health Stadium on Saturday. Andrew Booth, Aidan Apodaca and Augi Williams scored for the Battery. However, it was a bridge too far for Charleston in the end as Hartford relentlessly responded to preserve their lead. Fidel Barajas made his professional debut and the 16-year-old assisted Williams’ goal after entering the match off the bench.
The night began under a calm fall night, with temperatures in the 50s and the Battery on the front foot. Aidan Apodaca and Mauro Cichero led Charleston up top with a handful of early opportunities, but neither could get a shot on target. Hartford opened the scoring in the 10th minute via Ariel Martinez. The hosts added a second tally moments later when Andre Lewis found the back of the net.
Charleston looked for a way back into the match, however, Hartford’s 4-5-1 midfield made movement past midfield increasingly difficult. Apodaca registered the Battery’s first shot on target in the 29th minute, a short-range header right to goalkeeper James Slayton. DZ Harmon had a shot on target minutes later but, again, Slayton made the save.
Hartford tacked on a third goal in the lone minute of stoppage time just before halftime. Charleston entered the interval with a deficit to overcome despite holding 63.2% of possession during the half.
The second half kicked off with the Battery playing a spirited brand of football. Charleston responded with a goal from Andrew Booth in the 53rd minute, assisted by Romario Piggott. Booth lined up his shot from just beyond the 18-yard box and uncorked a missile to the top left corner, his fourth goal of the season.
Apodaca would strike for the Battery again just four minutes later to cut into Hartford’s lead. Leland Archer played a long ball into the box that Aidan received and redirected past Slayton. The goal is Apodaca’s sixth of 2022. Hartford, however, responded quickly as Lewis scored in the 57th minute to restore their two-goal advantage.
Augustine Williams came off the bench to score the Battery’s third goal of the night, in the 79th minute, assisted by Fidel Barajas. Williams bagged his 15th goal of the season after tapping home Fidel’s cross from the byline. Barajas’ assist highlighted the night of his professional debut after the 16-year-old entered the match in the 71st minute. Both Williams and Barajas were fresh off international duty with the Sierra Leone national team and Mexico U-17 national team, respectively, earlier in the week.
Despite the Battery’s best efforts to level the score, Hartford would pull away in the waning moments of the match. Lewis converted from the penalty spot in the 87th minute and Ariel Martinez tallied the hosts’ sixth goal during stoppage time
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