The Charleston Battery have done it again, advancing to the league Semifinals with a stylish comeback victory over the Harrisburg City Islanders. Last Saturday, the fans at Blackbaud experienced the full gamut of sporting emotions as they watched Charleston fall behind early, tie the match with a dramatic penalty, and then take the lead, all before the end of the first half.
The story began in the 15th minute when Harrisburg's Brian Ombiji, easily one of the most dynamic forwards in USL this year, caught the Charleston defense napping, stroking home a goal on the back post. And while the Islanders had their tails up for sure, that was to be the end of their scoring exploits on the evening and for the 2012 season for that matter. Recovering quickly from the sucker-punch goal, the Battery seized possession and began turning the screw. Our Low-country boys were rewarded about five minutes before the half. Nicki Paterson fed Tony Donatelli who clanged a brilliant shot off the upright, resulting in a free-for-all inside the eighteen yard box. The officials sighted a Harrisburg handball it was none other than Paterson who took the spot. Hammering the ball low into the left corner of the net, Charleston were back on terms and the comeback was underway. Donatelli and Jose Cuevas shredded their way through the Islanders defense using impressive one-two passing with Cuevas supplying the insightful through ball allowing Donatelli to lift the Battery with another goal just before the whistle.
Harrisburg went into the break reeling from the whirlwind first half but emerged stronger than before. The Islanders tested Charleston's defense in every possible way, but under the Captaincy of the fiery Colin Falvey, the Battery's backline were miserly in the second period. Nearly adding to the total in the final minutes of play, defender Mark Wiltse erupted in a landmark run streaking half the distance of the field in a sparkling individual effort. In the end his shot trickled inches wide but the result was good enough to move on to the next round.
Here a look at the best of the action from last Saturday's playoff tie:
Friday night Charleston face the Rochester Rhinos at Sahlen's Stadium in Rochester with the winner playing for the USL PRO Championship match. Remember, not three weeks ago the Battery traveled north handing the Rhinos a 4-0 shellacking at Sahlen's with former Rhino Tony Donatelli leading the charge. While Rochester will be eager to avenge that embarrassing defeat, the Battery can take the field with confidence in their history against the Northern foe. Orlando City hosts the Wilmington Hammerheads Friday night...and Wilmington are the only team to defeat the Lions in regular season play. If the Hammerheads manage the upset, and Charleston have their way with Rochester, that means the Battery would play host to the Championship game!!! So lets dream big, go out and CRUSH the Rhinos!!!
BE SURE you catch the game, Friday night August 31, on UNATION