WILMINGTON, N.C. — The injury-depleted Charleston Battery hung two goals on the Wilmington Hammerheads in the first half hour and then held on for the 2-1 win at Legion Stadium.
After Hammerheads goalkeeper Andre Rawls saved Maikel Chang’s attempt on a penalty kick in the 5th minute, Charleston (4-0-1) reclaimed the momentum in the 24th when Chang spotted Zach Prince running down the right side of the field. Prince’s goal bent into the upper 90 from range to give the visitors the edge.
Then it was early substitute Jose Rodriguez’s turn to star. Rodriguez, who replaced defensive midfielder Sebastien Thuriere in the 21st minute, put pressure on a Wilmington defender at the byline, stripping him of the ball and somehow managing to keep it in bounds.
As both teams reacted to the steal, Rodriguez sent a low cross toward Chang, who put it away cleanly from just above the six-yard box for the 2-0 lead.
The goal was the first of the season for Chang, whose big afternoon came at a crucial moment for the team, which was without starters Quinton Griffith, Justin Portillo and Navion Boyd, as well as leading scorer Heviel Cordoves.
Wilmington’s Ashani Fairclough scored his first goal of the year in the 59th minute to avoid the shutout.