Monday, August 1, 2011

Playoff Picture Gone Bad to Worse

The Charleston Battery's post-season hopes were dealt a serious blow by the Rochester Rhinos last Saturday evening.  A 1-0 loss with only three more games remaining in regular season play gives the Battery face an uphill climb with very little margin for error.

The match began in Charleston's favor as the home side had two good opportunities in the first half.  Nicki Patterson forced a saved from Rhino's GK Neal Kitson in the 7th minute with a forceful strike from long range.  Twenty minutes later, it was Kitson again who made a brilliant save responding to a venomous header from Dane Kelley.  The heat had begun to take a toll on the players and it became more evident in the second half.  An unimpressive twenty minutes from both sides was followed by the game winning goal in the 68th minute.  The Charleston defense reacted slowly to long throw in from Rochester.  This momentary lapse gave Rhino's Drew Cost just enough time to place a low ball past Dykstra and break the deadlock.  Charleston fought back, nearly drawing level a minute later but Kitson again denied Kelley, clearing the ball at the last second.  The Battery were dissatisfied and pressed the attack, almost finding the equalizer in stoppage time.  Seedy Bah unleashed an explosive shot but Kitson made sure he spoiled the celebration.  Easily the man of the match, Rochester's GK earned an impressive clean sheet with six saves against a hungry Battery attack.
A frustrating night at the 'Baud

Charlotte tied the Rhinos the night before; Richmond lost and Wilmington won their game.  With our loss to Rochester this leaves Charleston still one point behind the Kickers in fourth place.  Fourth place is enough to make the playoffs, however Charlotte are knocking on the door only three points adrift with a game in hand.  We face Orlando City at midweek and again on Saturday.  In our last meeting, we beat the Lions at Blackbaud.  But without giving them to much credit, the league leaders are coming off a win against EPL's Newcastle United having boasted a home crowd of over 10,000.  We may not have to win either game in Orlando to still make the postseason but we must stay above the Charlotte Eagles.  It looks like we may see an incredible high stakes season finale when we host the Eagles August 12th.  That match will determine which side lifts the Southern Derby as well as who advances to the playoff.  Stay tuned Battery faithful, it should be an exciting week!!

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