Rochester, N.Y. — Tony Donatelli scored a pair of first-half goals to lead Charleston to a 4-0 victory over the Rochester Rhinos on Saturday night.
Amadou Samyang and Dane Kelly rounded out the scoring as the Battery handed Rochester its worst home defeat of the season.
The win lifts the Battery (12-10-1) back into third place in the USL PRO standings and with one game remaining Charleston is one point behind the second-place Rhinos, who also have a single match left to play. The top six teams advance to the postseason, with the top two receiving a bye into the semifinal round.
Donatelli played for Rochester in 2011 but was released after the season. His return to his old team started brilliantly with a superb opening goal in the 18th minute. Ryan Richter began the move with a short pass inside to Donatelli 20 yards out. He let the ball come across to his left foot and then curled a strike past Rhinos goalkeeper Kristian Nicht into the top left corner of the goal.
Ten minutes later, Donatelli added a second after some good wide play by forward Jose Cuevas. Cuevas skipped over a challenge to get to the goal line, then lifted a cross to the back post for Donatelli to head home.
Charleston’s dream start continued with a third goal on the stroke of halftime that took the game beyond Rochester’s reach. After Richter was brought down 20 yards out, Nicki Paterson fired in a free kick that Nicht failed to hold on to. Amadou Sanyang was first to the loose ball and drilled it home from inside the six-yard box.
The final goal was scored by substitute striker Kelly in the 86th minute as he used his pace to get past a defender before placing a left-footed shot inside the right upright.
Charleston return to Blackbaud Stadium next Saturday night to close out the regular season with a 7:30 p.m. match against Dayton.