Monday, June 1, 2009

Charleston 2-0, Battery Defeats Rhinos to move into First Place

Charleston Battery topped the Rochester Rhinos 2-0 Saturday night at a soggy Blackbaud Stadium in front of 3,874; Charleston remains unbeaten on the season and moves into first place in the USL-1 table. Randi Patterson and Frankie Sanfilippo each provided second half goals in the victory. The win puts the Battery (4-0-4, 16 points) level with the Carolina RailHawks on points but into first place courtesy of the head-to-head tiebreaker.Battery goalkeeper Dusty Hudock only faced one shot to earn his league-leading fifth clean sheet on the season. The Battery has now gone 283 minutes without conceding a goal. Already suffering the loss of Dan Antoniuk to injury in the Battery’s mid-week 1-0 win over Miami, the Battery were further handicapped when midfielder Tsuyoshi Yoshitake had to be substituted in the fifth minute due to a hamstring injury.After a tightly played first half by both teams, the Battery took advantage of a halftime deluge, using the slick playing surface to open up play. “They came in to make it a physical battle,” said Battery head coach Mike Anhaeuser. “The first half was a little chippy, but I think we wore them down over time. The goals are going to come. If teams will come in here and open up with us, then we will get more goals. But right now teams are coming in here and playing us defensively. We’re responding the right way.”The Battery’s persistence paid off in the 56th minute when Patterson ran onto a flick from Wednesday’s hero Darren Spicer and found himself with space 25 yards from goal. After a settling touch he blasted a low right-footed drive just inside Rhino goalkeeper Scott Vallow’s near post.The goal was Patterson’s first on the season.“It’s been a while since I scored,” Patterson said. “The pressure for that first goal is off my back and now I can just concentrate on scoring more goals.”Seven minutes later the Battery were given a man advantage when Rochester’s Tai Atieno was shown a straight red card after a midfield scuffle, the result of a hard collision between the Battery’s Ian Fuller and Rochester’s Kenny Bertz. Both Fuller and Bertz had to be treated but returned to the field.The Rhinos struggled to adjust to the playing a man down, resulting in Sanfilippo’s highlight-reel goal. Sanfilippo the ball at his feet and time to set up a blast from the right flank, 35-yards out as the statuesque Vallow could only watch it sneak just inside the far corner. “I had the space, and in the rain, I thought why not just hit it,” Sanfilippo said. “I looked and saw it go in the upper corner.”The bomb was Sanfilippo’s second on the season. Both have been from distance. “That’s the second quality goal Frankie’s scored from long range this season,” Anhaeuser said. “It’s great when you can get goals like that from your right back.”The Battery will look to remain unbeaten and at the top of the USL-1 table next Saturday, capping off a three-match home stand versus the 1-4-1 Cleveland City Stars at Blackbaud Stadium.

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