The Charleston Battery made both of their shots on goal count and held on thanks to some clutch goalkeeping to beat Bethlehem Steel FC 2-1 on Saturday night.
The Steel dominated possession throughout seeing the ball 58 percent of the time but were caught twice against the run of play by pinpoint passing and clinical finishing.
The first came just before halftime when Atlanta United loanee Gordon Wild found Atuella Guerra on a ball sent across the face of goal. Eight minutes after the break Neveal Hackshaw floated a long cross from near the sideline on one side of the field to the far post that Wild took on the volley to beat Jake McGuire.
“I actually thought we pasted them tonight and they were lucky to get out of here,” Steel FC head coach Brendan Burke said. “They had two shots in the game and they beat us 2-1.”
In addition to setting up the game-winner, Hackshaw had a big night defensively along with Battery goalkeeper Joe Kuzminsky, who made a couple of big stops and finished the game with seven saves.
“Hackshaw stood on his head,” Burke said. “Even their goalkeeper made two incredible saves and then one cleared off the line there at the end.”
Aidan Apodaca and Michee Ngalina both made their first professional starts in the match while academy forward Tonny Temple made his Steel debut when he subbed in for Fabian Herbers in the 71st minute. Temple had a chance to tie the game deep into stoppage time when Chris Nanco found him on a cross but his shot was saved by Kuzminsky.
Temple became the 13th player from the academy to make a USL appearance. Five Union players were in the starting lineup, including Jake McGuire, Adam Najem, Herbers, Olivier Mbaizo and Derrick Jones, who scored his second goal of the season and eighth overall in his Steel career from the penalty spot in the 66th minute.
The penalty, which was called on Hackworth for a handball, was pretty dubious. While the ball may have hit his hand, it was far from being intentional.
“It’s a tough one because you’re winning 2-0 and carrying the game then a tough call goes against you and you’re immediately under pressure,” Battery head coach Mike Anhaeuser said. “After their goal, they kept pressure on us.”
The Steel (2-4-2) return home to Goodman Stadium on Wednesday night to take on New York Red Bulls II.