It was super hero night at MUSC Health Stadium on Saturday.
Charleston Battery striker Romario Williams didn’t burst out of phone booth and only lacked a cape to complete his Superman imitation against the Rochester Rhinos.
Williams recorded a hat trick and Ataulla Guerra and Maikel Chang each added a goal as the Charleston Battery cruised to a 5-0 win over Rochester at MUSC Health Stadium.
The Battery improved to 3-1-0 (9 points) on the season, while the Rhinos fell to 1-1-1
Williams scored the first three goals of the game, all coming in the opening half, as the Rhinos never had a chance against a
determined Battery attack.
It was the first hat trick of the season for Williams, who was coming off a lackluster performance in last weekend’s 2-1 loss to Pittsburgh.
“I felt good out there. It was a good 75 minutes,” said Williams, who leads the team with four goals this season. “My job is to put away the chances I get, and I was able to get three tonight. It was a special night, but it’s always a special night playing in front of the home fans. You always want to treat them to a brilliant performance.”
For Charleston coach Mike Anhaeuser, getting the shutout was just as important for team morale.
“We didn’t allow that many chances, a couple in the second half, but getting that shutout is tremendous,” Anhaeuser said. “I thought we did a great job all night of keeping our shape and not letting them get into any offensive rhythm.”
How they scored
The Battery grabbed a 1-0 lead on Williams’ second goal of the season in the 15th minute.
Williams, who led the Battery with 10 goals a season ago, got the ball just outside the 18-yard box, sidestepped two Rochester defenders, and then slipped the ball past Rhinos keeper Dan Lynd for the score.
Williams pushed the Battery’s advantage to 2-0 less than 10 minutes later. Williams picked up a loose ball from about 40 yards out and sprinted past Rochester defender Joe Farrell and chipped the ball past Lynd for the score in the 25th minute.
Williams got the hat trick off a throw-in in the 27th minute. Battery defender O’Brian Woodbine threw the ball into Williams, who was left all alone in the middle of the 18-yard box. Rochester defender Sergio Campbell made an attempt to deflect the ball, but it squirted underneath his outstretched foot and right to Williams.
Williams was all alone with just Lynd between him and a hat trick and the Jamaican easily put the ball in the back of the net for a three-goal lead.
Charleston extended its advantage to 4-0 on Guerra’s goal in the 32nd minute. This time, Williams showed off his playmaking skills, getting the ball to Guerra at the top of the 18-yard box. Guerra pivoted and slammed the ball past Lynd for the goal.
Midfielder Maikel Chang finished off the scoring with his first goal of the season in the 81st minute. Striker Heviel Cordoves got the ball at the top of the 18-yard box, slid it to Chang on the right side. Chang faked to the outside, waited for the Rochester defender to clear, and then blasted the ball past Lynd for the score.
“It was good to get some
other guys going offensive, too,” Anhaeuser said. “Hopefully, Maikel’s goal gets him going a little bit because teams are going to try and shut down Romario, so we need other guys to step up.”
Charleston defender O’Brian Woodbine made his season
debut for the club Saturday.
Woodbine was suspended for the first three games of the season by the USL after an
incident in stoppage time during last year’s Eastern Conference semifinal playoff match against Louisville.
Woodbine played 60 minutes and recorded an assist.
The Battery will take on the Tampa Bay Rowdies at Al Lang Stadium next Saturday beginning at 7 p.m. The Battery’s next home match will be April 29 against the Ottawa Fury.