Thursday, May 26, 2011

Break Down and Turnaround!

By looking at the scoreboard, it would be safe to assume that two entirely different teams took the pitch for the Charleston Battery in their last two matches.  Our boys from the Low Country were dismantled Saturday at Wilmington in a three-nil blowout against an old USL rival.  Things never seemed to tilt in the Battery's favor, the score line worsening as the match progressed.  The Hammerheads netted first about midway through the first half.  There were a few glimmers of hope for the Battery with near miss goals in the closing seconds of the first half and also in the 72nd minute.  Charleston was also honored to feature new signing Diego Walsh in midfield.  However, that faint hope was to be extinguished as things went from bad to worse when defender John Wilson was given a straight red card in the 78th minute.  Then the wheels fell off...A goal in the 85th minute and another in stoppage time sealed the result and ended what had been a dismal evening for the Battery.  The Hammerheads had proved a fierce opponent and a force to be reckoned with in the USL American Division.

Dane Kelly opens his account!
The tone of Saturday's match left a grim forecast for the Richmond Kicker's visit to the Blackbaud on Tuesday evening.  With a long history between the two sides, and Richmond's current undefeated streak, on paper, the Battery seemed destined for another night of punishment.  A dream start for the Kicker's saw arguably the league's best striker Matt Delicate take advantage of a defensive miscue and score in the first minute of play.  Happily, it was the darkest minute of the match and the Battery responded admirably.  Dane Kelly got the goal he has been clamoring for all season in the 26th minute of play ending a franchise record goal drought.  The crowd of almost 2,500 soon realized they had a real match on their hands.  An almost goal before the break left Charleston optimistic and motivated to find the winner.  It came in the 76th with a nice piece of skill between Nicki Patterson and JD Gruenewald as number 17 buried it to bring the boys in Black and Gold back to winning ways!  It was a privilege to deliver Richmond's first defeat of the season and I'm beginning to suspect that the 'Baud has a hoodoo on our neighbors from the north!  We must have started a trend because Richmond lost their next match in Orlando and the Lions replaced them at the top of the table with 23 points.  These results leave the Battery in 4th place only nine points adrift from the top.  I'm especially looking forward to this weekend's match against the Harrisburg City Islander in Charleston.  Keep scoring and Up the Battery!!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Goal Drought & Derby Match

It has been four games and far too long since the Charleston Battery has found the net.  So what is the primary issue?  Despite a promising preseason and positive results in the early weeks, we can't seem to get this season's campaign off the ground.  I'm afraid that talent is not the issue.  We have players capable of better results.  While Charleston is far from being a team is crisis, there is certainly plenty of room for improvement.  Without making excuses, it is difficult for any team to perform at their best with back to back games (not to mention on the road).  Perhaps we need to focus more on team chemistry and communication.  The shots and the opportunities are there, its simply the goals that are missing.  It probably also wouldn't hurt to spend more time on the training pitch polishing our finishing.  

That being said, the Battery has the perfect chance to pull themselves out of the slump as they face the Hammerheads this Saturday in Wilmington.  This is the second Southern Derby fixture but more than pride is at stake this weekend.  With four games in hand, Wilmington is only two points behind Charleston.  They are in good form and may prove a tough nut to crack.  This weeks match is set for 7:30 and there is a significant Charleston contingent making the road trip.  We're counting on the Regiment to cheer our boys to victory!

More Disappointment for Battery

The boys from Charleston dropped another three points  at home last Saturday against expansion side F.C. New York.  It was the Battery's first loss at home since September of 2009.  Following the pattern of the last few matches, the Battery had good possession and far more attempts on goal than their opposition.  However, possession and opportunities are not enough to win football matches.  In a surprising defensive lapse, New York's lone goal came in the 35th minute.  Anhaeuser responded with an attacking double substitution.  Battery striker Dane Kelley brought life to the match as his creativity opened up more opportunities and nearly a goal in the closing seconds of the fixture.  It was not to be as NY keeper Diaz made a final save to maintain his clean sheet.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tough Weekend for the Battery

Two matches in two days saw the Battery drop five out of a possible six points.  As expected, two tough defenses were well matched in Friday night's tie with Pittsburgh.  The deciding factor was a red card given to the Battery's Evan Taylor in the 53rd minute of play.  It was a soggy evening and the Battery held the upper hand for the first half.  There were several good chances early on and the Battery kept up the pressure after the break.  However, being reduced to ten men forced Charleston to defend and gave the Riverhounds more space to work with.  It finished nil-nil, but red card aside it was still a disappointing result.  Saturday, with a much altered line-up, our boys faced old rivals the Rochester Rhinos.  Despite a solid defensive performance, the Battery conceded about midway through the first half.  Rochester and their crowd of nearly 5,000 certainly relished the bit of luck that saw Tony Donatelli's shot come off the crossbar, into the back of Battery GK Keith Wiggans, and into the net.  Charleston mustered a great effort in the closing seconds of the match but the own goal would remain the only one recorded on the scoresheet.  The Battery return to Charleston this weekend to face league newcomers F.C. NewYork.  Charleston remains unbeaten at Blackbaud and New York are still in search of their first win of the season.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Charleston Battery Season Update

After an exciting preseason and best yet finish in the Carolina Challenge Cup, the Battery opened the 2011 season with a nervy 1-0 victory over the Charlotte Eagles.  This year’s roster of course features several new faces and a few familiar vets as well, most notably, the return of "retired" defender and captain John Wilson.  The following match saw our boys dispatch the debut franchise Dayton Dutch Lions with a strong away performance in Ohio winning 2-1.  New signing Nicki Paterson opened his account for the season and defender Colin Falvey found the net in his first match this year.  Unfortunately, the winning streak was cut short by a road loss to old rivals and current league leaders Richmond Kickers.  Levi Coleman netted once but it wasn't enough as Charleston surrendered three points and bragging rights with the game finishing 2-1.  This setback was followed by a good response and an important win against the Eagles at Winthrop.  After conceding early, the southern derby tie saw Gambian playmaker Seedy Bah slot home in the 33rd minute and another goal from Patterson completed the comeback with a 2-1 result.  The following evening, despite some 17 shots on goal, the Battery were held to a scoreless draw by the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.  Tomorrow night (friday) our boys face the Riverhounds on their turf looking to come away with all three points.  The return of Stephen Armstrong should bolster the defense, but the weekend promises to be a challenging as we will face Rochester in New York the following evening.  Last Saturday's match was a defensive showdown and we can probably expect more of the same asPittsburgh boasts one of the league's best keepers in Hunter Gilstrap.  These two games will be a good test of our roster depth but if we play our cards right, we should come away with two wins

Back in Action

After a long absence, I've decided to resume my post reporting on my favorite football from around the world.  Having neglected it for nearly two years, this blog will definitely need some retooling.  As European soccer is drawing to a close, the game here across the pond has really started to heat up.  My favorite two clubs to follow are the Charleston Battery (USL) and Arsenal (EPL) but I plan to feature a little bit of everything in the blog.  Stay tuned for league updates, match reports, feature articles, and more!