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Eagles beat Battery, end six-game winless streak

By Bill Kiser
Correspondent

It’s been a rough five weeks for the Charlotte Eagles, who have struggled to score goals and win games.

That ended on Saturday night as they scored early and often to beat the Charleston Battery 3-1 at the Queens Athletic Complex.

Fred Sekyere scored his first goal of the season and assisted on Jorge Herrera’s second-half goal for Charlotte (4-8-1 USL Pro), which had just three goals in its past five games.

“It was really wearing on the team,” Eagles coach Mark Steffens said. “It’s hard to stay positive when you keep losing tough decision after tough decision.

“The last two weeks, we’ve worked on getting into the attack and being better in the attack, and it paid off.”

The work paid off against the Battery (4-6-4). Charlotte took the lead less than two minutes into the first half on Juan Guzman’s pick-and-score and went up 2-0 at the half on Sekyere’s goal.

Guzman scored his second goal of the season after having his touch pass picked off by Charleston goalkeeper Odisnel Cooper. But Guzman picked off Cooper’s pass to a teammate and punched it in from 18 yards out to put the Eagles ahead.

“I gave a bad pass away,” Guzman said of his goal. “But we kept pressing, and their goalie made a bad pass right to me.

“It was a relief. It’s been frustrating, because we’re too good of a team to be playing from behind like we have been.”

Seykere, a 5-foot-6 midfielder, put the Eagles up 2-0 at the 27th minute when he headed Herrera’s free kick from 30 yards out past a diving Cooper.

Charleston broke the shutout in the opening minute of the second half, with Maikel Chang punching Haviel Cordoves’ setup pass past Charlotte keeper Alec Kann.

However, Seykere set up Herrera for his team-best sixth goal of the season 20 minutes into the second half, a 15-yarder that just went over Cooper’s hand as he came out to challenge.

The Battery had chances later in the second half to close the gap, but Kann came up with two diving saves in the final 25 minutes. He finished with six saves.

“We’ve been saying the past 2-3 weeks that if we can get a break or two, we can turn this thing around,” Steffens said. “Hopefully, this could be the start of a big turnaround for us.”

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