Charleston rookie striker Austin Savage scored the only goal of the match to lead the Battery past the Portland Timbers U23 team, 1-0, Tuesday night in the second round of the U.S. Open Cup at Jeld Wen Field in Portland, OR.
Savage, a former Stratford High School star, headed in a shot for the goal in the 60th minute off a pass from midfielder Jose Cuevas. It was the first goal of the season for Savage, a former Clemson standout.
The Battery will take on Major League Soccer’s San Jose Earthquakes next Tuesday night in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup at Blackbaud Stadium.
Charleston enjoyed the majority of possession and scoring chances during the first half. The Battery came close to scoring on a number of occasions during the first 45 minutes of the match.
Cuevas was denied in the 17th minute when his curling right-footed shot from twenty yards out hit the post.
Ten minutes later forward Dane Kelly came close again after a through ball from Nicki Paterson. Kelly accelerated to meet the pass, but his shot was blocked by Portland goalkeeper David Meves.
“The turf was really slick, it rained all game, so it was tough to get any real chances during the match,” said Charleston Battery coach Mike Anhaeuser. “It was just tough to get on the end of balls, so we really had to work for our goal.”
Savage’s goal came in the 60th minute after some good build-up from the Battery that saw Jarad van Schaik slip a pass out to Cuevas on the left side. Cuevas sent a cross into the back of the box and Savage got past his defender and knocked the header home.
“Jose finally caught a break and whipped in a fantastic cross,” Anheauser said. “Austin has that little bit of quality and he was able to get past his defender and head the ball into the net. When it’s a knockout tournament like this it’s all about surviving and advancing.”
Portland exerted some pressure in the late stages of the second half as the Timbers looked to tie the game. But the Battery defense answered every challenge.
Former Battery captain Mark Watson is an assistant coach for the Earthquake. Watson was an assistant coach under Anhaeuser with the Battery.
“We haven’t played against San Jose in a number of years, since they were in our preseason challenge cup a few years ago,” Anhaeuser said. ‘It’ll be great to see Mark Watson again.”
A year ago, Charleston was ousted from the U.S. Open Cup in the third round by the MLS’ New York Red Bulls, 3-0.
Tickets go on sale today at 10 a.m. for Tuesday’s game against San Jose.