Friday, May 25, 2012

Open Cup Comeback, Charleston 2-1 Reading United AC

With an exciting second-half comeback, the Charleston Battery booked their passage to next round of the US Open Cup and have earned the right to host the New York Red Bulls.  Although certainly the underdog, Reading United proved a stern test for Charleston, making the most of their trip to Blackbaud.

Charleston took the initiative from kickoff and earned a series of corner kicks.  Withstanding the pressure, Reading responded with several drives of their own and soon began to control the momentum in the first half.  Both sides were content to feel each other out, but the conservative play left things scoreless at the break.

Reading picked up where they left off, continuing to press after the restart.  After winning a corner, the visitors took the lead in the sixty-fourth minute as United defender Olutolani Ibikunle nodded in the first goal of the match.  After a nervous pause, the Battery responded as Dane Kelly leveled the game with a strong goal from outside the box.  Entering the game just moments earlier, Navion Boyd assisted the goal in the sixty-ninth and the comeback was on.  Nicki Patterson entered the game after the strike and within ten minutes had a goal of his own.  As the Reading defense tried to plug the holes, Patterson was brought down a good thirty yards from goal.  Taking the kick himself, the Scotsman tucked a brilliant shot smack in the corner of the net, and even if Reading's keeper had had arms six feet long, he still would've had no chance against such an incredible goal!!  With ten minutes to play, Charleston quickly shut things down, smothering possibilities for an equalizer.  And at the final whistle, our boys had the satisfaction of knowing they would be hosting the hottest team in the Major League Soccer in only one week's time.

Charleston fielded Brock Duckworth in goal against Reading United.  Duckworth was with Wilmington last season but has signed with the Battery from the Myrtle Beach Mutiny.  He will likely feature in Tuesday's match against New York as Andrew Dykstra is cup-tied to DC United.  The good news is that Dykstra's loan has been extended and he is available for selection in regular season play.

And speaking of regular season play...with all the hype surrounding the Red Bulls and the Open Cup, it might be easy to forget about Saturday's match against the LA Blues.  The Blues are fielding a much altered lineup from last season, perhaps most notably former FC Dallas striker, Maykel Galindo.  LA earned a 1-1 draw in Orlando Thursday night, and thats no small accomplishment.  The Blues face Charleston at Blackbaud Saturday, the second game in their east coast swing.  While the Battery may have a few tired legs from Tuesday's cup tie, if we're lucky, we'll look a bit more rested than LA.  The Blues threw everything at Orlando and probably deserved all three points.  It should be another great opportunity for Charleston to collect some points and maybe even rest a few of the boys before Tuesday's tangle with New York!!

Up the Battery!!!

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