This game was exciting from start to finish but in the opening minutes Antigua held the upper hand. A series of attacking forays led to a few early corner kicks for the Barracudas, but despite their size and physical style of play, the Caribbeans were just barely off the mark. Ryan Richter had a few good glimpses of goal, but the Battery struggled to find their rhythm and both chances went begging. Moments later, John Wilson stole up the left flank slicing in an incisive cross with deadly accuracy. Donatelli latched on to the service but his shot floated just wide of the net. However, Charleston had their tails up and the first goal finally came at the end of regulation. On the stroke of half time, Jose Cuevas nudged the Battery in front with a clinical strike from the left side of the box. Donatelli provided the assist and Charleston went into the break with a reward for their efforts.
After the first quarter hour of the match, it seemed that Antigua were content with drawing back and playing off the counterattack. Especially after the goal, the Barracudas played a defensive game and hardly set foot in the Charleston's final third. The Battery continued to boss the show and with each passing minute looking more like scoring another. About midway through the half Sanyang made some room for himself and let loose with a long-range screamer. He'd beaten the keeper by a mile but unfortunately beat the goal as well. His ferocious shot was merely inches above the crossbar but it was undoubtedly a signal of intent. While three more goals were to be had, they would all come in the final sixteen minutes of play. Antigua were fatigued and their frustration was evidenced by a rash of sloppy tackles. The official remained lenient if not neglectful as there were scarcely any bookings, let alone ejections. On one such foul, Cuevas sent a beautiful ball curling past the wall headed straight for the upper right corner. Sadly the keeper had picked his spot and spoiled the attempt. In the seventy-fourth minute, Bundu, who had harassed the Barracuda back line all night, picked out Patterson in front of goal. No sooner had the Scotsman volleyed home his third goal of the season with distinct style. Six minutes later, Patterson returned the favor, and with a smart cut-back, put Bundu right inside the six yard box. Needless to say, the Battery frontman disposed of the ball accordingly. With three goals in the net, Antigua set about trying to stop the bleeding. Both teams were countering each other's substitutions and Richter, Donatelli, and Bundu made way for Boyd, Prince, and Kelley. The latter of the three had apparently made a prematch claim he'd find the net and at full time the Jamaican did just that. Dane Kelley collected the ball from the never-tiring Patterson and rifled home the final goal of the evening, making good on all his promises.
It was a spectacular result for the Battery and easily the most complete performance we've seen from the black and yellow thus far. Several individual performances capped the win and put the game beyond all doubt. John Wilson had a monstrous game and his seamless conversion from defense to attack is wreaking havoc on our opponents. Cuevas seems to have an inborn sense for goal and when his boot hits the ball, its hard for him to miss. Patterson is dominating the midfield, winning balls and creating opportunities. With his goal on the night and two assists, his tireless effort and impeccable form sure do remind me of Seattle Sounder Osvaldo Alonso. While the squad has its standouts, the team earned the win and Charleston's on-field chemistry, cooperation and communication are outstanding, especially considering the fact we're only five games into the season.
In other news, former Battery midfielder Alex Caskey earned his first start for the Seattle Sounders this past week, managing four shots in their 1-0 win over Philly. Also, the men of the Charleston Battery took the title in Saturday's Dragonboat Charleston rowing competition, beating out the incumbent champs, the James Island Vikings. Proceeds from the race go towards raising cancer awareness and supporting cancer survivors. Also, Saturday's "Kick for the Cure" match against the Rochester Rhinos will feature a pink home kit for the Battery as well as several other "pink" themed promotions. Again proceeds will go towards cancer survivors and research, so support your Battery and a great cause at the same time. Finally, don't forget to visit No Quarter for a great statistical breakdown of last Friday's match as well some exclusive commentary and updates throughout the week.