Riverhounds still winless after scoreless draw with Charleston

Matt Grubba
| Saturday, April 26, 2014, 8:03 p.m.

The Riverhounds got the complete-game effort they were looking for, but this time it was the goals that were missing.

An edge in shots and time with possession weren't enough for the Riverhounds, who were unable to get their first win of the season and settled for a 0-0 draw against the Charleston Battery on Saturday at Highmark Stadium.

After struggling out of the gate in a home-opening loss to Wilmington and having late lapses last week in a 2-2 draw at Richmond, the Riverhounds were sound from start to finish against Charleston.

“We've harped on the fact that we've played well in spurts here and there, whether it's 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes,” Riverhounds coach Justin Evans said. “We haven't put 90 minutes together until tonight, and this was a very good performance by us.”

The result leaves both teams winless in April and near the bottom of the USL Pro standings. The Riverhounds are 0-2-3, and Charleston is 0-1-4.

Despite still seeking their first win, the Riverhounds were upbeat after the draw because of the way they were able to hold possession. The team used a 3-5-2 formation with Mike Green, Anthony Arena and Danny Earls on defense, while midfielder Anthony Obodai also had a strong defensive game in the holding role at the center of the field.

“We're feeling good about this game. We were possessing the ball very well, and that's the thing that will build our confidence,” Obodai said. “You always think you're going to get a goal, and we were a little unlucky today that we didn't do it.”

Striking options for the Riverhounds were limited. Collins John served the second game of a three-game suspension, Jhonny Arteaga missed the game with an undisclosed injury, and Jose Angulo is away from the team after the death of his father.

“It's difficult not having those guys, but we had to do what we had to do. I thought everyone that went in played very well,” Evans said.

“Their keeper made a couple of big saves in the second half. You miss the MVP (Angulo), and you miss Collins John. Those are the guys who score the goals, but that's not to say that the other guys can't.”

The Riverhounds were at their most threatening out of the locker room after halftime. Three minutes into the second half, Kevin Kerr hit a powerful shot from distance that forced Charleston goalie Odisnel Cooper to make a diving save to his right.

Matt Dallman had another open shot from the top of the box one minute later, but his effort sailed over the crossbar.

In second-half stoppage time, the Riverhounds got a late corner kick that fell to the feet of Arena near the penalty spot, but his low shot was deflected by traffic in front and cleared away by Charleston.

Charleston's attacking was limited mostly to counter-attacks, and its best chance came on a first-half free kick created by a foul on the counter. Quinton Griffith took a shot on the free kick from 35 yards, which sailed just over the crossbar.

Riverhounds goalie Michael Lisch needed to make just two saves, and Cooper stopped four shots.

Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at mgrubba@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Grubba_Trib.

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