Match Recap: Harrisburg Breaks Winning Streak in Season Finale

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Heviel Cordoves added two more goals on Saturday as the Charleston Battery wrapped up their regular season home slate with an impressive 4-0 win over the Harrisburg City Islanders at MUSC Health Stadium. Cordoves opened the scoring in the 15th minute when a pass from Maikel Chang split two Harrisburg defenders, allowing the Cuban to run on and beat City Islanders goalkeeper Sean Lewis despite his efforts to cut down the angle. Cordoves tacked on a second in the 58th minute when he found himself in space on the right wing and engineered an excellent give-and-go with Ataulla Guerra that led to a wide-open look and a clinical finish. Guerra had previously stretched the Battery’s advantage to two in the 28th minute when he punctuated a beautiful piece of interplay with Kotaro Higashi with a shot just inside the right post that left Lewis no chance. Quinton Griffith struck the final blow just before the final whistle to increase the margin in what was Charleston’s third shutout victory in its last five outings. The result snapped a two-match winless streak for Charleston as the side improved to 14-8-9 overall (51pts) and 10-1-5 at home with one match remaining in the regular season. Competing for the final time in 2017, Harrisburg dropped to 10-15-7 overall (37pts) and 3-11-2 on the road.

Scoring:
15’ – CHS – Heviel Cordoves (Maikel Chang)
28’ – CHS – Ataulla Guerra (Kotaro Higashi)
58’ – CHS – Heviel Cordoves (Ataulla Guerra)
89′ – CHS – Quinton Griffith (Maikel Chang)

#CHSvHAR: Full Match and Opta Box Score

Three Things That Matter:

1. Arguably the hottest player in the USL, September Player of the Month nominee Heviel Cordoves has now found the back of the net in each of the last five games for the Battery, accounting for seven of the team’s nine goals in that span. Prior to the current run, the 27-year-old Cuban forward had netted just one goal in 23 appearances during the 2017 season. His seven goals since the start of September also exceed his previous season-high of five for the Battery which came during the 2015 campaign. The emergence of Cordoves has helped balance an attack that had been heavily reliant on USL Golden Boot contender Romario Williams. Williams was absent from Saturday’s match after being called back into the Jamaican National Team but still ranks fourth in the USL with 15 goals on the season despite not having tallied since August 12.

2. With the win, Charleston took another step towards assuring itself at least one home playoff match – a factor that could prove key in the club’s push for a championship. The Battery now own a 14-match unbeaten streak at MUSC Health Stadium and have only dropped one game in the role of hosts this season, a 2-1 loss at the hands of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds way back on April 8. The other Eastern Conference contenders will face a daunting task if the road goes through Charleston as Mike Anhaeuser’s squad has now out-scored opponents 33-12 at home this season, with the +21 differential ranking first in the conference and second league-wide behind only the record-setting attack boasted by Reno 1868 FC.

3. Harrisburg’s 2017 season came to a close on Saturday as the team failed to carry its recent momentum into the finale. The City Islanders were one of the most successful teams in the league in September – amassing a 4-1-1 record in six games – but finishes below the playoff line due in large part to its struggles away from home. Following the result against the Battery, Harrisburg finished the season with just 11 points from 16 road matches while being out-scored 30-9 in those games. The City Islanders showed flashes throughout the season however, and compiled a +3 goal-differential at home while posting seven home victories. Finding consistency week-to-week will be essential as the club seeks a return to postseason competition.

USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Heviel Cordoves, Charleston Battery – The red-hot forward bagged two more goals, continuing what has been one of the most prolific individual stretches in the USL this season