It’s no big secret why the Charleston Battery currently sit on top of both the USL Eastern Conference standings and the goals leaders chart this season; the play of Romario Williams in his second year on loan in Charleston has reached another level.
But maybe an underrated factor in Williams’ success has been that of Trinidad & Tobago international Ataulla Guerra, who appears to have settled into the club’s system in his second year with the Battery. Guerra’s four goals this season put him tied for second on the team alongside set-piece threat Forrest Lasso, making the 29-year-old a player opposing defenses must account for when he’s on the field.
Under Head Coach Mike Anhaeuser, the Battery have typically played a 4-4-1-1 system for a number of years, with the second striker role previously played by the likes of former Battery standouts Jose Cuevas, who earned USL Rookie of the Year in 2012, or current players Ricky Garbanzo and Maikel Chang.
This season Guerra has already amped up his production as he has grown into his role underneath Williams. His four goals and 13 shots on goal are already superior to those totals in the 2016 season despite playing less than half as many regular-season minutes.
ATAULLA GUERRA, CHARLESTON BATTERY
2016/2017 SEASON COMPARISON
|Games||Minutes||Goals||Assists||Shots||Shots on Goal|
Guerra’s lack of assists so far this season shouldn’t be a disappointment either. While he’s upped his shooting frequency, he’s also taking care of the ball very well and creating chances. Guerra’s pass completion rate sits at 79.8 percent overall, and 73.9 percent in opponents’ halves. He has also created 11 scoring chances in addition to his own goals.
The presence of Guerra on the field, through the increased production he’s brought so far this season, in addition to the other threats the Battery have at their disposal behind Williams, are the reason Charleston is on well on course to surpass its best attacking output since the USL began in 2011, when the Battery scored 48 goals in the 2013 season.