CHARLESTON, S.C., April 8, 2023 – A goal off a direct kick in stoppage time lifted the Charleston Battery to a 3-2 win over Hartford Athletic in United Soccer League (USL) Championship action in a game played in heavy rain on Saturday night.
The win keeps Hartford (1-3-2, 0-3-2 USL Championship) winless in USL Championship play. The only win thus far for the Athletic this season came in the U.S. Open Cup tournament on Tuesday night.
In stoppage time, Charleston were granted a free kick from just inside the sideline in Hartford’s third. Arturo Rodríguez curled the ball into the traffic in the box from about 30 yards out, it took a bounce off the wet grass, and slipped by goalie Richard Sánchez for the game winning goal. The ball went untouched into the net directly off of Rodríguez’s foot for an unusual free kick goal from just in front of the sideline.
Hartford took the early led on a goal from Prince Saydee with 13 minutes gone in the game. The Athletic were unsuccessful on a free kick chance just outside Charleston’s box in the 11th minute, but were able to keep the ball in Charleston’s half for two straight minutes before finding the back of the net.
Hartford’s Danny Barrera tapped a pass forward to Jeciel Cedeño, who led a ball to an onside Saydee, and Hartford’s leading goal scorer guided his shot past a charging Trey Muse to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. The assist was Cedeño’s first in USL Championship play.
The home side broke through with 10 minutes left in the first half when Derek Dodson swung a ball into the box that was tapped in by Nick Markanich from the doorstep.
Charleston carried their momentum into the second 45 minutes, scoring almost immediately after kickoff. Augustine Williams threatened to score in the 48th minute, getting behind Hartford’s back line and just missing the net on his shot from inside the box. He didn’t miss the net on his second try a minute later, one-timing his shot from the top of the box and beating Sànchez to the bottom right corner to give the Battery a 2-1 lead.
Down by a goal after a forgetful run of play, the Green and Blue responded well and equalized in the 60th minute. After a short corner was deflected back out to Antoine Hoppenot, the forward fired another cross from inside the box that rattled off a Charleston defender and sailed high into the air. Niall Logue headed the dropping ball down to Conor McGlynn, who squared a left-footed shot past Trey Muse to knot the game up at 2-2. It was McGlynn’s first goal of the season.
Hartford continued to create chances while spending more time in the Charleston third after the McGlynn goal, including a headed shot that grazed the right post from Niall Logue off a corner kick. A crucial moment in the match came in the 75th minute, when Dante Polvara received his second yellow card of the match and a subsequent red card, putting Athletic up a man for the remainder of the match.
Hartford’s final scoring chance came in the 84th minute. Jeciel Cedeño led a ball into the final third for Kyle Edwards, who chased down the pass as Trey Muse lost his footing. A prime opportunity for Hartford after the misstep from Muse left him out of position, the Charleston keeper made a strong recovery to the near post to save Edwards’ shot on goal.