The Charleston faithful stood stunned. Just fifteen seconds ticked onto the clock of the Patriot Park scoreboard when Leland Archer had just dragged down Guenztti in the box, preventing a clear goal scoring opportunity. The crowd would descend into further madness when the official produced a red card to send Leland Archer to the showers before he even had time to sweat. The players in yellow and black looked around, just as stunned as the crowd asking each other if they had really seen what they just saw. You could hear a pin drop as Quinn stepped up bravely to take the penalty. He would effortlessly bulge the back of the net to put up the quickest goal in all of the USL this season. Before anyone really had time to take their seats after their pre-game concession trip, the Eleven were up 1-0. Eleven fans watching on ESPN+ could sense that a fun night was ahead.
Uncertainty Lingers in the Opening Minutes
The Battery responded as well as you could after that stunning first 15 seconds. They controlled possession, effectively applied the press, and baited Eleven defenders into making aggressive challenges resulting in yellow cards being peppered throughout the Eleven lineup. Spectators could sense a little uneasiness setting in on the Eleven, unsure if these yellow cards would soon turn red. Momentum would shift back and forth between the sides before Indy’s Martinez would get a one on one chance with red hot Battery keeper Trey Muse. Trey would get a left hand on Martinez’s shot, forcing it wide.
Early Second Half Anxiety
At the beginning of the second half the Charleston Battery gained control of the match, as the Eleven softened their press. The Eleven found themselves spending more and more time with the ball in their defensive third. The Battery got a glimpse of a tied match when a cross came into goal scoring threat, Augustine Williams. The ball would arrive as Williams was between strides. He did what he could to get a foot on the ball, but would send it just over the bar. Indy would get a chance at the other end, when Robleto would pass up a shot on goal and lay pass off to Blake who was steaming into the box. The ball would leak too far out in front of Blake, who would slip trying to get a foot out to direct on frame. That missed chance only strengthened the feeling that an equalizer from the Battery was inevitable. But then things started to happen for the Eleven.
Late Second Half Battering
Just two minutes after Blake’s missed chance, Roblito would be dragged down inside the box and the official would point to the spot for the second time. Quinn would get Trey Muse to dive the wrong way and put the Eleven up two. Five minutes later Molina scored from a splendid cross supplied by Guenzatti, which effectively allowed Molina to shoot on an empty net. The final goal would be an own goal from an Eleven corner bringing the final score to 4-0.
Far from an expected result considering the 8th-ranked team in the conference was visiting the leaders. I acknowledged in my preview that it would be a tough game to win and we might have to be happy with squeaking out a draw, but I don’t think anyone could predict that first fifteen seconds. With that win the Eleven moved up to 6th in the conference, while the Battery maintained the top spot. Eleven face Hartford next Saturday at home, looking to build off the momentum gained in Patriot Point.