Sunday, July 3, 2011

Frustrated Battery Scoreless Against Lackluster Blues

Despite a threatening offense and brilliant personal efforts by our own Dane Kelly, the Charleston Battery fought to a frustrating 0-0 draw against the L.A. Blues at the 'Baud Friday night.  It had been a busy week for the Blues as they were narrowly defeated by big brother L.A. Galaxy in the US Open Cup on Tuesday.    Their visit to Charleston was met by a clear evening and a crowd of 3500.  L.A. produced a good attempt in the twelfth minute, but it proved to be their only real opportunity of the match.  They never looked like scoring the rest of the evening.  Charleston fired up the offensive machine and began pounding on the door in the 25th minute.  Defender Nigel Marples fed Alex Caskey whose first-touch shot flew over the bar.  Just before the half Kelly caught up with long ball that had beaten Blues GK Oscar Duatt.  However, with a sharp angle, the Jamaican could not head the shot on frame.

The attack continued in the second half as the Battery ramped up the momentum.  L.A. seemed content to settle in and defend, looking more and more as if they were playing for the draw.  Kelly saw another effort jump the crossbar in the 72nd minute and was denied a penalty claim only five minutes later.  He was dropped inside the box after beating a pair of defenders, but the official waived the foul.  The Battery striker almost became the stoppage time hero as Charleston made one final push in the closing seconds.  It was not to be as Duatt was equal to the challenge, saving the blushes of the L.A. Blues and stealing two points from the Battery.
Kelly takes on former Battery defender Nelson Akwari
While it was not the best result, its important to remember that these draws add up.  We will need every point as we march closer and closer to the postseason.  L.A. went on to lose 4-2 in Wilmington on Saturday, ending a week they will want to forget.  This weeks action leaves us second in the American Division standings, ten points adrift from league leaders Orlando City.  The Lions return to Blackbaud this Saturday and will be a tough test for the Battery.  Charleston will need to make the most of every scoring opportunity and can not afford a leaky defense.  Our boys will face Orlando City three times before the close of the season.  We have to use our homefield advantage and do everything we can to trim that ten point gap.

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