Pittsburgh — Midfielder Nicki Paterson scored twice in first-half stoppage time and forward Dane Kelly added a third goal in the second half as the Battery beat the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, 3-1, on Thursday at Chartiers Valley Stadium.
The win lifts the Battery (7-2-0) to within two points of the second-place Rochester Rhinos with Charleston having played one game fewer.
Despite the Battery controlling the game, it wasn’t until the 42nd minute that Charleston forced Pittsburgh goalkeeper Hunter Gilstrap into action.
The first goal was scored in time added on at the end of the half after the Pittsburgh defense failed to clear a long throw. The ball dropped at the feet of Paterson, who slammed it home from five yards out.
Moments later, Paterson would have a chance to double the lead after Kelly was hauled down at the edge of the penalty-area. The referee elected to only issue a yellow-card to defender Stephen Flunder, but Paterson converted the free kick in brilliant fashion, curling the ball into the top right corner.
In the 58th minute, Kelly got in behind again and was brought down again. This time, the referee pulled out the red card to dismiss Pittsburgh’s Matt Kassel and give the Battery a man advantage.
Moments later, the game changed after the Riverhounds were awarded a penalty following a challenge by defender Cody Ellison in the box. Rich Costanza slotted home to make the score 2-1.
Pittsburgh had the momentum and almost leveled eight minutes later but for a reaction save from Charleston goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra. Zach Prince picked up the loose ball, and eventually Kelly scored on a close-range finish.
The Battery is at Dayton for an 8 p.m. match Saturday.