Richmond's away woes continued Saturday night against Charleston Battery. The long-time rivals fought hard with Richmond making 14 shots to Charleston’s 8. Still, two first-half goals put the Kickers in a hole from which they couldn’t climb out. These two teams have played each other 57 times, officially making it the oldest professional soccer rivalry in the Unites States.
Defender Luke Mishu was loaned to Kickers for this match, giving Alex Lee a rest. Mishu started the game at right back, and Braeden Troyer, a former Charleston Battery academy player and now Richmond veteran, assumed the left back spot. Both teams saw some of the ball in the first ten minutes, with a bit of fast-paced back and forth play. Each side created chances, but bodies stacked in the box kept away any danger in front of goal.
Fred Owusu Sekyere sent in a dangerous cross in the 25th minute which nearly found Jason Yeisley at the back post. Charleston beat Yeisley to the ball which led to a Richmond corner. The cross created problems for Charleston in the box but ultimately ended up in the hands of the keeper. During the play, #9 Romario Williams, who's had 7 goals for Charleston this season, went off with a hamstring injury. Heviel Cordoves came on in his stead.
Immediately after the change, things went downhill for Richmond. Midfielder Maikel Chang had a cracking shot heading for the bottom right of goal, but Charlie Horton made a diving save and got a finger to the ball, pushing it wide. Horton’s heroics were soon negated. Charleston's ensuing corner found Taylor Mueller, whose glancing far-post header put the Battery up 1-0.
Other than a Sekyere shot from outside the box, Charleston controlled play for the rest of the half. In the 36th minute, O'Brian Woodbine sent in a cross to sub Cordoves who made space in the box. Another header was put past Horton, and Charleston assumed a 2-0 lead going into halftime.
Coach Cowlishaw threw everything he had at Charleston after the break, making four changes at half time. They included Sascha Goerres and Michael Callahan as well as strikers Luiz Fernando and Anthony Grant. Callahan made an impact right away when he sent in a dangerous cross in the 49th minute. As he’s done all year, Yudai Imura nearly had an excellent volley in front of goal. Unfortunately for the Kickers, his shot found the Charleston woodwork instead of the net.
Richmond controlled play after the half and were given a great opportunity to make a comeback when Charleston’s Dante Marini earned a straight red in the 78th. He’d gone after a back pass from Callahan to Pittman but was beaten to the ball. Referee Vincent Apple-Chiarella immediately sent the Charleston midfielder to the locker room.
Still, with Charleston down to 10 men, Richmond couldn’t find the net. They passed the ball well and played with heart down 2-0 on the road, but their effort didn’t translate to any points. In goal for Charleston was Alexander Tambakis, a loanee from Charleston affiliate and MLS expansion team Atlanta United FC. Making his 7th appearance for Charleston, he earned yet another shutout on the season.
Richmond travel to Harrisburg to face the City Islanders tonight where they hope to turn their away record around. July 16th, they return home to host Swansea City at City Stadium, marking the 3rd straight year a Premier League club has visited Richmond.