Monday, February 27, 2012

Guns of Charleston!!

The Charleston Battery is back in action!!!

The Carolina Challenge Cup kicked off this past weekend, boasting a sellout crowd of 5,767 and a tremendous display by the tournament's hosts.  Earlier in the week, the Battery faced College of Charleston at Patriots Point, playing to a scoreless draw, but showcasing plenty of offensive promise and defensive solidarity.  A growing tradition and easily one of the country's finest tournaments, this year D.C. United, the Chicago Fire, and the Columbus Crew were invited to the Carolina Challenge Cup.

In the first match, D.C. edged the Fire one goal to nil.  Chicago looked sharp early on, but failed to convert a PK and eventually succumbed to United's miserly defense.

The highly anticipated second match saw no shortage of excitement as the Battery proved comeback kings, leveling twice as the game ended 2-2.  The Crew's visit also meant the return of the beloved "Wildman" Tom Heinemann, prolific Battery goalscorer and MVP of Charleston's Championship match against Richmond in 2010.  With six minutes gone, the Crew's Eddie Gaven managed a classy strike to give the visitors an early lead.  Columbus enjoyed possession in the first half, but a darting run by Charleston's latest signing, midfielder Jose Cuevas, was followed by an insightful cross.  There was a scramble in the box before Dane Kelly snatched a true poacher's goal, bringing the hosts level just before the break.

Twelve minutes after the restart, Columbus' Renteria was brought down by Charleston's Charlie Romero inside the eighteen and the official pointed to the spot.  Milo Mirosevic stepped up and restored the Crew's lead.  The rest of the second half was a tight contest in the middle of the park, but slowly the Battery began to make inroads in Columbus' final third.  With a minute left in regulation, Charleston's Bundu was hauled down in the area and the Battery's persistence was rewarded.  Cuevas took the PK and brought the Battery level once more as time expired.

It was a fine night of football and the Battery will look to build on the weekend's excellent performance when they face D.C. United in Wednesday's second game.  The Coffee Pot Cup is on the line and its always great to get the better of D.C.  Cheers to the Battery on a job well done, and here's to our best CCC yet!!

Guns of Charleston,
Lead the way!
Find the net,
 and save the day!!

Can't touch this!!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Arsenal Update

The creative cannon at The Beautiful Game has gone silent in recent weeks but its high time we catch up on all things Arsenal.  My last post left off with the anniversary game against Everton, a 1-0 win that witnessed perhaps Van Persie's finest goal of the season.  Now a lot has happened since then; the holiday season proved a bit of a mixed bag for the Gunners.  Here's a brief recap:

Dec. 18th-Manchester City 1-0 Arsenal (EPL)
<> A bitter loss as the Gunners fought hard, only to be burned by a very late counterattack.

Dec. 21-Aston Villa 1-2 Arsenal (EPL)
<> A weary Arsenal slugged out a gritty win with a Benayoun strike three minutes from time.

Dec. 27-Arsenal 1-1 Wolverhampton (EPL)
<> A spirited Wolves side earned a point at the Emirates, despite an early goal by Gervinho and being reduced to ten men.

Dec. 31 Arsenal 1-0 Queens Park Rangers (EPL)
<>  The Gunners edged promoted QPR, but the win was less than convincing.

Jan. 2 Fulham 2-1 Arsenal (EPL)
<> The new year began with dissappointment as Fulham robbed the Gunners of a certain 3 points.  Craven Cottage erupted as the home side netted two goals in the final five minutes of regulation.

'The King' returns!!
Jan. 9 Arsenal 1-0 Leeds (FA Cup)
<> 'King Henry' restored morale with a classic Arsenal goal.  Fresh in on loan, the Legend converted a beautiful ball from Song to lift the Gunners to the next round of the FA Cup.

Jan. 15 Swansea 3-2 Arsenal
<> The Swans shocked Arsenal with a resilient comeback from Van Persie's 5th minute goal.

Jan. 22 Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal
<> A late goal derailed another terrific Arsenal performance.

Jan. 29 Arsenal 3-2 Aston Villa
<> With a stunning second half salvo, Arsenal completed a dramatic comeback with three goals in seven minutes, including an RVP brace of penalties.

Feb. 1 Bolton 0-0 Arsenal
<> A good game all told, but the points go begging as a stubborn Bolton leave Arsenal winless in four league matches.

That about does it! The Arsenal seems to have weathered quite the ugly patch and will need a run of excellent form to recoup their losses.  However, that fourth Champs League spot is well within reach if the Gunners find consistency and reclaim a few key players from injury.