For the first four games of this season, Riverhounds coach Justin Evans said his team played well in spurts -- 10 minutes here, 20 minutes there -- but really hadn't put together a full 90-minute effort.
Until Saturday, that is. Evans said his team played its best 90 minutes of the season, but the absence of three key players meant one aspect was still lacking -- scoring.
The Riverhounds overwhelmed Charleston with possession Saturday night at Highmark Stadium, but without forwards Jose Angulo (death in the family), Jhonny Arteaga (injury) and Collins John (suspension), couldn't find the back of the net and had to settle for a 0-0 draw.
"Those are guys who score the goals," Evans said. "Not that these guys can't, too, but I thought we played well."
The Riverhounds had two golden chances, specifically, to break the deadlock, but both ended up being parried away by Charleston goalkeeper Odsinel Cooper.
In the 48th minute, Kevin Kerr fired a shot from the top of the 18-yard box, but Cooper darted to his right to knock away a shot that looked destined for the goal.
The second came at the very end of the game with stoppage time ticking away. Matthew Dallman took a corner that landed in the 6-yard box, but Anthony Arena's desperation shot was knocked away.
"Sometimes they go in, sometimes they don't, but overall I thought our play was pretty good," Evans said.
The Riverhounds controlled play for most of the first half, but couldn't find an answer to the last line of Charleston's defense.
Neither team was able to create too many great scoring chances in the first 45 minutes. The Riverhounds' best chance came in the 12th minute when Mike Seth got free near the goal line on the right side and forced a pass into the middle. Robert Vincent was there, but could not corral the pass and get off a shot.
"I thought we had a really good first half," Evans said. "We were putting the ball in dangerous areas, but not really having the runners in there or not really having the quality service we needed."
The dominance in possession continued in the second half, as the Riverhounds routinely found themselves kicking the ball around just inside the halfway line, but had more difficulty when it came to breaking down even the first line of the Battery defense.
"They were sitting in a 4-5-1 and we were able to play through the midfield and that's what we've worked on, keeping the ball in possession, which was something that really hasn't been too good for us in the first three, four games," Evans said.
Defensively, they limited Charleston to only a few small chances on counter attacks. The closest the Battery came to pulling ahead came on a spell around the 61st minute, when they had three consecutive corner kicks.
The Riverhounds are off before returning with another home game May 9 against Orlando City.
Sam Werner: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @SWernerPG.