Battery players charged up by recent results

Brock King, left, and the South Carolina United Battery turned a pair of potential losses into valuable points last weekend. Patricia Ring/Ring Photography

There have been more ups than downs this season for the South Carolina United Battery under-15/16 squad, but two of the lows have ended in one-sided, shutout losses.

Therefore, since the South Conference Southeast Division team salvaged a tie and a victory over the weekend after trailing by a combined three goals, Battery defender Brock King and his teammates have plenty of reason to be positive.

"Early in the season, we had been really struggling, and we weren't playing well for the first three quarters of our second game [last week], but we didn't let it get into our heads that we were down either time," said King, who defends along with Andrew Davis, Josh Schooler and Phillip Tran.

"We all just kept pushing the ball out of our defense and forward. We all just kept on trying to score. We believed in each other. This was a really good weekend for us to be able to fight through potential losses."

The Battery tied South Conference Atlantic Division opponent North Meck 1-1 before edging Charlotte Soccer Academy 3-2, overcoming second-half deficits in U.S. Soccer Development Academy action on Saturday and Sunday.

"We were losing 2-0 with 20 minutes to go against Charlotte, and we scored two goals in the last minute of regulation," said coach Robert Strickland, whose Battery is a division-leading 9-1-2 with an overall mark of 14-3-3. "This leaves us with a very good record, and that was a good way to finish for our team."

It was also a sharp contrast to earlier shutout losses of 4-0 to the Clearwater Chargers (6-2-5) of the South Conference's Southeast Division and 6-0 to the San Diego Surf (10-4-2) of the West Conference's SoCal Division in October and December.

Midfielder Daniel Zaremba's equalizer in the 67th minute salvaged the draw against North Meck, whose lone goal had come from Austin Stamey in the 55th.

The Battery trailed by two goals after Charlotte's Jared Odenbeck and Hans Honer scored within two minutes of each other -- the second goal coming in the game's 42nd minute.

"They actually scored a long, free kick that was actually deflected in at the end of the first half, and then they scored on a very good chest and volley at the beginning of the second half," said Strickland, who credited keeper Joseph Wichmann for his improved second-half play. "After that, our defense played really well, and they really didn't have that many chances."

But the Battery took advantage of theirs.

Forward Hamilton Carlin's first of two goals came with 20 minutes to play, after which his equalizer in the 79th minute was followed by the game-winner from Rex Epps in the 80th. Andrew Eskanazi set up the Battery's last two goals.

Carlin leads the team with 20 goals, followed by Epps and forward Avery Ryan with seven goals each, and forward Michele Bottari with six. Midfielder Koty Millard has five goals, Eskinazi and midfielders Erik Clark and Caleb Moore have two goals each, with one each for Zaremba and midfielders Hunter Danna and Waldo Cepeda.

"This was very important for us to be able to come from behind and to win," Strickland said. "We'll need that if we make the playoffs, which we're in a very strong position to do."

Other games played last weekend:


West Conference SoCal Division

Pateadores 1, Strikers FC 0: Kevin Delatorre's goal in the 58th minute was the difference for the Pateadores, which improved to 2-2-1, 5-2-5, while the Strikers slipped to 1-1-3, 4-7-2.

West Conference Northwest Division

De Anza Force 2, Cal Odyssey 0: Shane Luna and Geoffrey Dunn converted in the 32nd and 79th minutes to lift the second-place Force (4-2, 8-4-3) over the fifth-place Cal Odyssey (2-3, 4-9).

Central Conference Texas Division

Lonestar SC Academy 2, Texas Rush 0: Amir Oduye and Zachary Wright were the goalscorers in the 47th and 72nd minute of the shutout as the fourth-place Lonestar (5-3-2, 8-4-3) blanked the seventh-place Rush (2-3-3, 2-7-4).


LA Galaxy 2, Vancouver Whitecaps 1: Goals by Josue Angel Espana and Matthew Perez in the 43rd and 50th minutes lifted the Galaxy (3-1, 6-3-2). Matthew Chow converted in the 59th minute for the Whitecaps (3-1, 7-4-2).


Central Conference Texas Division

Dallas Texans 2, Houston Dynamo 1: Jason Machado and Brandon Aubrey scored in the sixth and 35th minutes for a 2-0 lead as the first-place Texans (8-0-3, 10-0-6) remained unbeaten in their nine-team division. Elochukwu Ozumba had the lone score for the sixth-place Dynamo (4-3-3, 5-7-3) in the 50th minute.

West Conference SoCal Division

Pateadores 2, Strikers FC 1: T.J. Casner and Roberto Escudero scored in the 68th and 69th minutes as the Pateadores negated a score in the 83rd minute from Matthew Chasman. The Pateadores rose to 3-1-1, 7-3-2, while the Strikers are 1-4, 5-7-1.

West Conference Northwest Division

De Anza Force 1, Cal Odyssey 0: Nicholas Lima converted the game's only goal in the 80th minute for the triumph as the second-place Force rose to 4-2, 9-6, and the sixth-place Odyssey fell to 1-3-1, 3-7-3.

Central Conference Texas Division

Texas Rush 3, Lonestar SC Academy 2: Marco Chacon, Edgardo Mira and Diego Galdamez scored for the winners in the fourth, 75th and 90th minutes of a come-from-behind victory for the seventh-place Rush (2-3-3, 3-6-4) over fourth-place Lonestar (5-4-1, 10-4-1).


LA Galaxy 2, California Development Academy 0: Kevin Labastida and Jaime Villarreal scored in the 19th and 51st minutes of a win that improved the team's record to 6-3-2. CDA fell to 5-9-1.

South Carolina United Battery United 2, North Meck 1: Goals by Eli Dent and Nestor Jaramillo in the fifth and 88th minutes secured the win for the Battery (5-1-6, 9-3-8), which leads the eight-team Southeast Division of the South Conference. Diego Suarez contributed the lone goal in the 44th minute for North Meck (0-0, 1-3-1).