Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Orlando Fall in Late Thriller

The Charleston Battery were forced to prove their mettle on a soggy pitch before a sparse crowd two hours past the scheduling of the match.  Although this game had a late start due to inclement weather, the result more than made up for the delay.  It took several minutes for both sides to come alive, but the Battery had their first chance in the 12th minute.  After finding space, Dane Kelley rifled a long shot but his effort was off the mark.  A tired Orlando side sat on the ball for most of the first half but made very little of their possession.  A scoring chance came for the Lions only minutes before the whistle.  Midfielder Jamie Watson delivered a nice cross but Charlie Campbell's header was not on target.  

After the break, both sides retook the steamy field and it was again Orlando who controlled the ball.  Dykstra strung together a series of marvelous saves and together with his back line kept our boys in the match.  Rather against the run of play, Mike Zaher found rookie Alex Caskey with a probing cross.  Beating his man, Caskey whipped the ball toward the inside post, shocking the Lions with a quick goal.  The 62nd minute header was his first goal of the season and his first for the Charleston Battery as well.  The ensuing play was all Charleston as the Battery forcefully sought to increase their lead.  It was great to see the Pride of the Low Country thriving in such difficult conditions.  Moments later, Kelly orchestrated a dazzling breakaway and strode the length of the field.  Unfortunately, he kept possession a second too long and was thwarted by an impressive kick-save.  As the Battery continued to break down Orlando's defense, the Lions became desperate and got a little sloppy with their challenges.  There were a few minor scuffles and token yellow cards distributed accordingly.  Orlando's last real chance came in the closing stages of the match.  Forward Max Griffin let loose from inside the box as a result of some dicey play in the final third.  However, in an acrobatic diving save, Dykstra defended his goal and achieved a well-earned clean sheet.  The shut-out was the Battery's seventh this season.  
Kelley embarrasses the Orlando defense 
What a great game!  This was a big game against a big team and the Battery produced a HUGE result.  Although we don't have a perfect home record this year, Blackbaud is still a fortress.  Toppling the league leaders under such conditions is something to be proud of.  The weekend's results leave Charleston third in our division, two points behind Richmond and a scant single point ahead of Wilmington.  The Hammerheads visit the 'Baud Thursday evening and this fixture is another MUST WIN for the Battery.  Beating Orlando City is certainly an accomplishment but we need to use that momentum to crush Wilmington tomorrow night.  As this is a derby fixture, bragging rights are at stake as well.  This week's match is another big one and we need another big result.  Up the Battery!!
We've got work to do!

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