Charleston Battery coach Mike Anhaeuser talked all week about being more aggressive offensively at home.
The Battery’s attack mustered 13 shots on goal and Nicki Paterson scored less than 10 minutes into the game to lead Charleston past Pittsburgh, 1-0, Friday night before a crowd of 3,269 at Blackbaud Stadium.
The Battery, who won for the first time at home this season, improved to 3-1-0 (9 points) and are tied for first place in the USL Pro Division.
With the addition of Jamaican strikers Dane Kelly and Navion Boyd, Anhaeuser was determined to attack the Riverhounds as much as possible.
“They’re a good, veteran defensive team,” Anhaeuser said earlier in the week. “We can’t sit back and let them dictate the pace of the game.”
The Battery came out strong against the Riverhounds (2-2-0, 6 points), generating a half-dozen quality scoring chances in the first 30 minutes of the game.
“We wanted to push the ball up the field and generate some scoring chances, and in the first half, I thought we did a good job of that,” Anhaeuser said. “We probably should have scored a couple of more goals, but their keeper made a nice save and then we just missed a couple of more times. I was really happy with the way we came and played in the first half.”
The Battery grabbed a 1-0 lead on Paterson’s header in the ninth minute. After a foul on the Riverhounds, the Battery was awarded a free kick from about 35 yards out. Midfielder Jose Cuevas sent a searching ball in the six-yard box that Paterson headed in for the score.
“Jose gave me a great ball,” Paterson said. “He’s been doing that all season. If you give him space and time, he’s going to deliver good balls.”
The Riverhounds pressured the Battery more in the second half, collecting six shots on goal.
Charleston keeper Andrew Dykstra made three quality saves in the final 25 minutes. Dykstra’s diving foot save in the 76th minute on Pittsburgh’s Richard Costanzo keep the shutout intact.
“(Costanzo) had pretty good pace and got a good ball, and I just guessed right with the save,” Dykstra said.
The win, however, came with a cost.
Midfielder Amadou Sanyang left the game at halftime with a lower-body injury, and Cuevas was taken off the field with an ankle sprain in the 64th minute.
“Those are two very important guys for us in the middle of the field,” Anhaeuser said. “They really spread the ball around, especially Jose. Hopefully, they are not hurt too bad.”
Charleston hosts Antigua next Friday at 7:30 p.m.