Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Empire Strikes Back, Charleston 0-3 New York

Historically, New York has had a pretty rough time winning in Charleston, particularly in the Open Cup.  Unfortunately for the Battery, history was not on our side in last night's loss to the Red Bulls.  Despite the score-line, our boys put on a good show and made the Bulls earn their spot in the next round.  And although we may have had to fight a tropical storm to get home, for my brother and I, it was well worth the trip.

A crowd of over 3500 awaited kickoff and there were many a Gunners jersey in the stands.  And while King Henry himself failed to make an appearance, there was plenty of great football just the same.  In the opening stages, Charleston were chomping at the bit, fighting hard, controlling possession and creating opportunities.  The first of these came in the seventh minute when Charleston cracked the backline and took a swing at goal.  The shot was off target but the boys were making their presence felt on the pitch.  More Battery pressure and more buildup followed.  The Red Bulls simply couldn't get the ball away from Charleston and were forced to defend.

With New York's first real chance came the first goal of the game.  A pacy counterattack let the Bulls get men down the field and cross in to MLS's leading goalscorer, Kenny Cooper.  Before Tuesday's match, I had no idea how big Cooper was.  This dude is like a bull stuffed into a soccer jersey with shoulders as wide as a doorframe.  Needless to say, Cooper edged off two Battery defenders and with his back toward the goal ripped a shot into the lower left side of the net.  It was against the run of play, but at fourteen minutes New York had their goal and were content for the moment.

A surprised Battery responded admirably and continued to pester and wear down the Red Bulls defense.  We were winning set pieces and forcing good saves from NY's Ryan Meara.  Charleston's best efforts on goal came around the half hour mark with a pair of corner kicks.  Patterson swung one in from the right, and after some brief confusion was narrowly scrambled away for another corner.  Pushing up from the back, Captain Colin Falvey received the next kick from Jose Cuevas.  There was a collective gasp in the East bleachers as the onlookers watched the header pierce the melee and descend on the net.  At the last possible moment, Meara managed to scratch the ball, by a fingertip at best, and send it just over the bar.

That's one way to stop John Wilson...
In the forty-first minute, Dax McCarty made good use of a short corner and assisted Heath Pearce to his first goal for the club from the Empire State.  Of course, the traveling fans, presumably those that populate the South Ward at Red Bull Arena, were already singing but redoubled their efforts after taking a two goal lead.  Charleston were deflated and had little to show for their hard work going into the break.

Refusing to abdicate, the Battery manned the trenches and dug in for the second half.  Charleston had several more good chances from set pieces and New York gave John Wilson all kinds of space to make runs down the left flank.  But as the game wore on, fatigue set in and Charleston were unable to find the net.  The duel was all but finished in the seventy-first as Connor Lade laced a fine strike from the edge of the box, placing the ball in the upper right corner of the net.  Coach Anhaeuser threw everything forward after the goal, subbing Mueller and bringing on Kelly, opting for a 3-4-3 formation. His tactics took effect, but Charleston could never perfect the final through ball.  As the clock wound down, the rains came up and the crowd was amused by some major league misfires as the Red Bulls embarrassed themselves by playing a little too fancy.  Brock Duckworth recored several fine saves, one in particular requiring great acrobatics.  In the end, an essentially first-string Red Bulls side proved too hot to handle, and advance to the next round of the cup.

Here are some of my lasting impressions from the game:

-Kenny Cooper is a monster.  Seriously, this guy is huge...with his control and sheer brute force, its no wonder this guy is topping the charts in Major League Soccer.

-Brock Duckworth is one incredible GK.  He pulled off some pretty fantastic saves against perhaps the most dynamic offense in the country.  Lets hope he gets a contract extension!!

-The Red Bulls are a club worth supporting.  While they had a few hot-shot moments and dramatic fouls, their players (and fans) for the most part were very respectful and brought something special to the match.

Its always disappointing to get knocked out of the cup, but with the way our boys played and considering the opposition, the Charleston Battery left little to be desired.  It was a wild night in the Cup's other fixtures with upsets aplenty.  Look for a third round recap in the next few days.

With no time to dwell on what could have been, the Battery hit the road taking on Pittsburgh Thursday night, and Dayton on Saturday.  Heads up boys!  Time to climb the table remind our league foes what we're famous for!!


Monday, May 28, 2012

Black, Yellow, and Blues, Charleston 1-0 Los Angeles

After several days off, the Charleston Battery returned to action with a 1-0 win over the LA Blues Saturday night at Blackbaud Stadium.  A crowd of 4,344 (one of the best this season) was on hand to cheer the boys to victory.  Captain Colin Falvey scored the game winner after a quarter hour of play as the Battery move into third place with a pair of games in hand in the USLPRO standings.

Navion Boyd had the first real chance of the game in the eighth minute, splitting the defense and driving a shot over the bar.  But the Charleston faithful would wait only six minutes for the deciding moment of the match.  Jose Cuevas cued up a free kick from around forty yards and sent a tremendous curling ball into the box.  Battery skipper Colin Falvey latched onto the service and headed his shot to the upper right corner of the net, past the reach of the Blues netminder.  On the half hour, Amadou Sanyang nearly doubled Charleston's lead, but he nodded a shot just over the crossbar.  At the break, Falvey's goal was enough to keep the hosts in front.

Donatelli giving the Blues 'what for'
The ball was up for grabs in the second half and possession was hotly contested between the two sides.  Resultantly, the attacking flair had somewhat diminished.  However, the miserly Charleston defense afforded their strikers a few good looks at goal, one of them coming in the sixty-eighth minute from Navion Boyd.  Ryan Ritcher came on for Boyd ten minutes later as Charleston tried to spark initiative late in the game.  The switch worked as Sallieu Bundu managed a deadly shot inside the eighteen as Charleston continued to mount pressure.  In stoppage time, Ritcher posted another close range effort that just missed the mark.  In the end, the one goal proved to be enough as Andrew Dykstra recorded yet another clean sheet in a game where Charleston's defense stole the show.

Here's a nice piece with a personal note on Falvey's goal from The Post & Courier.

Another good outing for the boys, notching a league win on the eve of their historic Open Cup fixture with the New York Red Bulls.  Charleston are in the thick of it now, with three games next week and two of them on the road.  Forgetting the Open Cup match for a moment, the Battery's upcoming three game road swing will be a critical test of their mettle in terms of league competition.  They are eight points behind league leaders Orlando City, but have played only seven to City's nine.  With wins in Pittsburgh and Dayton, Charleston could overtake the Lions by beating them when they visit Orlando the second week in June.

That being said, the we can no longer forget Charleston's appointment with Thierry Henry and the New York Red Bulls Tuesday night!!  It has all the makings of a classic cup tie and all I can say is:


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!!!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Bring on the Bulls!!!

In case you've been living under a rock, the Battery are through to the next round and will host Thierry Henry and the New York Red Bulls Tuesday night in the third round of the US Open Cup!!

The second round of the Open Cup was even more exciting than the first.  Most USL squads have advanced to the next round to face MLS opposition, but there were a handful of upsets and some convincing blowouts as well.  Here are all the results from Tuesday night's USOC action:

Harrisburg City Islanders 2-1 Long Island Rough Riders
The Islanders advance to host the New England Revolution in the next round.

Charleston Battery 2-1 Reading United AC
With a dramatic comeback, Charleston bested Reading and go on to host the New York Red Bulls!!  (Don't worry, full match report to follow)

Rochester Rhinos 3-0 Brooklyn Italians
Blanking one of the tournament's historic teams, the Rhinos will battle the Union in Philly.

Agean Hawks 0-4 Richmond Kickers
The Kickers progress to face in-state rivals DC United after a complete performance against the Hawks.

Pittsburgh Riverhounds 0-1 Michigan Bucks
One goal was enough oust the Hounds; Michigan host the Chicago Fire in the next round.

Chicago Fire PDL 1-2 Dayton Dutch Lions
The Lions quenched the Fire to earn a draw with their MLS neighbors the Columbus Crew.

Jacksonville United FC 0-3 Tampa Bay Rowdies
The Rowdies move on to challenge the Colorado Rapids.

Orlando City 7-0 KC Athletics
While City thrashed KCA, they'll have their hands full when they take on Sporting at Livestrong Park.

San Antonio Scorpions 2-0 Laredo Heat SC
Winning a Lone Star Derby, the Scorpions advance to host the Houston Dynamo.

El Paso Patriots 0-1 Charlotte Eagles
An own goal gifted the Eagles with a trip to FC Dallas in the next round. 

Des Moines Menace 0-2 Minnesota Stars
The Stars travel to the Rio Tinto to challenge Real Salt Lake in round three.

Ft. Lauderdale Strikers 7-2 Fresno Fuego
The Strikers doused Fresno, but will have to face the in-form Quakes at San Jose next.

Los Angeles Blues 1-3 Ventura County Fusion
Bouncing their local rivals, Ventura County progress to host Chivas USA.

Carolina Railhawks 6-0 PSA Elite
The Railhawks destroyed their opposition, and the LA Galaxy will likely get the same treatment when they come to town.

Also, check out this article on the Railhawks decision to host rather than sell out to LA:

Georgia Revolution 0-1 Atlanta Silverbacks
The Apes pulled out a win, but victory should be a touch more elusive at CenturyLink Field against the Seattle Sounders.  

Wilmington Hammerheads 0-4 Cal FC
The underdogs embarrassed the Hammerheads at home and could earn a premium scalp, traveling north to take on the Timbers.

For the full USOC Bracket visit

A mouthwatering lineup to be sure!!  And if thats not exciting enough for you, in the latest Battery press release, Charleston announced its plans to host English Championship side Nottingham Forrest in an exhibition in late July!!  Look for more info on Forrest in the next few posts.  

As you may have noticed in the game against Reading, Charleston featured a new keeper in goal.  Brock Duckworth of the Myrtle Beach Mutiny has signed on with the Battery may take the reigns for the next several matches.  We've actually signed another keeper as well, a local high school talent in the Battery's Development Academy.  Read more about them both here.

Finally, be sure to stop in at No Quarter to get their take on recent events:  Reading, Blues, Red Bulls and more

What a week!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Beautiful Game in the Palmetto State

If you've read the blog more than once, I'm sure you've discovered that I tend to focus my time and attention on things concerning the Charleston Battery (and rightly so).  However, I'd like to take time to introduce a few new clubs who've recently burst onto the Carolina soccer scene: the Myrtle Beach Mutiny and the Palmetto FC Bantams...and then of course bring you some news on the Battery.

Myrtle Beach Mutiny FC

After a lively preseason, The Mutiny opened their inaugural season with a rousing 1-0 home win over Rocket City United at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium.  Myrtle Beach are in the Southeast Division of the National Premier Soccer League, a rapidly growing grassroots movement aimed at developing soccer communities and talent across the country.  The newcomers learned a valuable history lesson when they recently traveled to reigning champions Jacksonville United and were torched 7-1 by the hosts.  However, the Mutiny looked far more resilient in their last fixture, a gritty 1-0 home loss to the Knoxville Force.  Myrtle Beach are coached by Patrick "Thunder" Olalere, made famous by his striker days and prolific scoring record for the Charleston Battery.  MBFC boast a diverse lineup with plenty of homegrown talent but have enlisted players from the likes of Brasil, Morocco, Nigeria, and Central America as well.  

The Mutiny visited Blackbaud to scrimmage the Battery earlier in the year and the exciting fixture went decidedly in the way of the hosts.  While the Mutiny have a difficult assignment in making their way against stiff opposition in their first season as a NPSL outfit, we here at The Beautiful Game wish them all the best in their inaugural season!!

Here's a link to the team's official website:  Myrtle Beach Mutiny FC

Palmetto Bantams FC

Joining USL's Premier Development League in the South Atlantic Division, the Palmetto Bantams FC are an amateur side based in Greenwood, SC.  The Bantams have a partnership with the English League Two Team, Bradford City.  Their roster is comprised of mostly players from USC and Clemson with a handful of Englishmen as well.  The Bantams are off to a great start recording a convincing 2-1 win over the Virginia Beach Piranhas in their franchise opener at Lander University.  Showcasing plenty of offensive talent, it seems the Bantams have a bright future in the PDL.  They play a pair of games this weekend in Columbia against Real Maryland FC at USC's Stone Stadium.

The team site can be found here:  Palmetto Bantams FC

Interestingly enough, as both teams enjoyed a week off from league play, the Bantams visited Blackbaud last Friday to take on the Battery in a friendly.  The Battery scored in the first half and again after the break.  The Bantams found the net by way of a penalty, but Charleston responded immediately, as the match finished Battery 3-1 Bantams.  

Charleston take on Reading United AC in tonight's Open Cup match and will host the LA Blues this weekend.  Remember, should Charleston will their this evening, they will play host to Thierry Henry and the New York Red Bulls next week!!  All the best boys and UP THE BATTERY!!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Open Cup is Here!

Its that time of year again!  America's oldest and most storied soccer tournament, the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, is underway!!

The Seattle Sounders will look to defend their historic title, having won the tournament three years in a row.  But in an ever-changing game, and with the largest field of competitors to date, who will lift the cup this time around??

The first round of play, mostly comprised of amateur and development teams, finished late tuesday evening.  There have already been a few surprise results, most notably, the PDL powerhouse Kitsap Pumas were beaten 3-1 by Cal FC.

The complete results can be found here in the full bracket:  2012 USOC Bracket

USLPRO and NASL teams enter the competition in the second round and the stage is set for some lively fixtures!  The Charleston Battery have drawn Premier Development League side Reading United AC.  Reading earned their first Open Cup win Tuesday with a 2-1 victory over the Greek Americans.
Look familiar??

The MLS teams have now been entered into the bracket so things start to get very exciting!  Should the Battery progress in their home match against Reading, they will go on to host the New York Red Bulls!!

Now first things first, we need to win Tuesday, but it sure is a thrilling prospect to think Blackbaud could play host to the legendary Thierry Henry and his New York outfit.  With a week to rest up for the match, the Battery should be ready for their first Open Cup tie and we've got the quality this season to make a deep run in the Cup.

The folks at the Battery have said they plan to broadcast Tuesday's match live via UNation, pending USL approval.

Stay tuned for news and results, and as always,  UP THE BATTERY!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Rhinos Rob Blistering Battery, Charleston 0-1 Rochester

The Charleston Battery were defeated 0-1 in Saturday's match against the Rochester Rhinos at Blackbaud Stadium.  Ironically, the crowd of nearly 4,000 were treated to Charleston's best offensive performance so far this season.  Mustering no fewer than twenty shots to the Rhinos two, Charleston truly commanded this match from start to finish.  Unfortunately, it didn't translate past the goalpost as Rochester's GK Kristian Nicht had the game of his life, registering ten saves thus prolonging the Rhinos perfect start to the 2012 season.  With six wins in six matches, having yet to concede a goal, Rochester sit atop the USLPRO table.  And as frustrating as the final score may be, it was a fantastic night for Charleston and an even better night for the charities benefitted by the Battery's 'Kick for the Cure' pink promotions.  But lets get on to the match:

Boyd bests former Battery mid Mike Zaher
source: charleston battery facebook
Sallieu Bundu nearly had the hosts in front after only six minutes.  With a penetrating drive into Rochester's final third, the talented frontman produced a quick, tidy strike seemingly out of thin air.  Despite the skill, Bundu's effort towards the lower right corner was saved by Nicht, the first of many on the evening.  The Battery demonstrated some resolute defending early on and although our passing was less than crisp at the outset, it improved as the evening wore on.  Donatelli posted a strong shot on frame in the eleventh minute, initiating an intense spell of offensive pressure from Charleston.  Nicki Patterson managed a shot from about twenty yards with service from a short corner.  Once denied, Patterson claimed the ensuing corner; a good cross but Kyle Hoffer's header was soon smothered.  Navion Boyd had an impressive game in his first start for the Battery, and did well to set up Jose Cuevas for a roaring shot in the eighteenth minute.

Charleston continued to hold possession and momentum while the Rhinos were content to leave eleven men behind the ball defending.  In the twenty-second, Boyd conjured some brilliant work in the box allowing a superb strike by Patterson.  Five minutes later, Boyd would take a crack himself but watched his shot from distance drift just over the bar.  Thirty-three minutes on, Charleston received another corner and Sanyang managed a volley that was desperately saved just off the line.  Donatelli popped another one just wide in the resulting play as Charleston relentlessly pushed for the opening goal.

Play began to open up a bit and former Charleston midfielder Mike Zaher saw an effort slip wide of the mark in the thirty-fifth minute.  At this stage of the game, it had been Rochester's only half-chance on goal.  Just before the break, Cuevas and Boyd both saw shots fly wide right of the post, as Charleston were unlucky to have so many chances and none of them netted.

Shortly after the restart Bundu was dragged down in the box.  The big striker seemed to suffer innumerable fouls the entire match with the worst part being that the majority of them went uncalled.  Charleston picked up where they left off, resuming the pressure as Patterson sent another fine distance strike just over the bar.  The Battery had a good opportunity with a free kick, but it quickly turned into counter-attack from Rochester.  Charleston handled the fast break, but the defense was left a bit too loose after the Rhinos first attempt.  Danny Earls picked his spot and punished the moment of weakness, leaving Dykstra unable to stop the shot.  Just like that, with only the single effort on goal, the Rhinos had taken the lead and for all their moxie, the Low Country Boys were left empty handed.

Responding immediately, Donatelli ripped a nasty shot right after the restart, forcing a point-blank save and a scramble inside the box.  Two minutes later, John Wilson, in the form of his life and thriving in the his new role at left back, tried his luck from a good ways out.  Around seventy minutes, Bundu was deliberately hauled down by the ear but it took some convincing before the ref even signaled the foul.  Cuevas made the most of the free kick, but coming to nothing, a rattled Boyd made way for Ryan Richter.

Rochester began to show signs of fatigue from facing Charlotte Friday then repelling a live-wire Battery offense.  Their defense resorted to ugly half-tackles with almost no repercussions from the officiating staff.  With fifteen minutes to play, Coach Anhauser opted to beef up the attack, swapping Taylor Mueller for Dane Kelly, leaving three at the back.  Charleston continued to press and moments later Zach Prince came on for Donatelli.  Wilson led the charge, repeatedly stealing down the flank and poking in crosses.  Sanyang had a header on target in the eighty-first, but Nicht was where he'd been all night: squarely in front of the ball.  Kelly was felled in the box with an apparent elbow to the face, but incident was hastily overlooked.  The Battery soon won another pair of corners, totaling eleven on the night, but Prince posted a pair of misses, leaving Charleston a goal to the ill with only minutes to spare.  In stoppage time Patterson managed another dangerous strike from a free kick just outside the area and Bundu leveled a beautiful bicycle a minute later, but his shot was just wide.  The Battery would have one more corner with a headed shot on goal, but it was not to be as the final whistle shortly followed.  

This is the first time this year Charleston's potent offense have been kept off the scoresheet and considering the circumstances it was no small achievement.  Accordingly, Kristian Nicht earned USLPRO player of the week honors for his spectacular  performance.  While the outcome of the match would've been likely unchanged, this is the second match this year in which I've been dissappointed with the officiating.  I can certainly understand leniency in calling the game and of course the purist would want play stopped rarely, if at all.  But there comes a point in the run of play, when players realize what they can get away with, and it is then official has lost authority over the match.  That's when someone may be seriously hurt.  Of course the loss is demoralizing, but particularly so since Charleston played so well.  But hold your heads high boys, you delivered a fantastic night of football and the results will come.  The Battery have the week off ahead of next week's Open Cup match Tuesday at the 'Baud.  We've drawn the PDL side Reading United AC and I'll have plenty of Open Cup coverage in the next several posts.  As always, UP THE BATTERY!!!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Blowout at Blackbaud, Charleston 4-0 Antigua

The Battery put four past the Barracudas in Charleston last Friday night, cruising to another three points.  Despite taking a few knocks in the previous fixture against Pittsburgh, both Jose Cuevas and Amadou Sanyang were in the low-country starting lineup.  And it was Cuevas who opened the festivities on what would prove to be a high scoring affair for the Battery.

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.  

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Battery Tame Hounds, Charleston 1-0 Pittsburgh

Claiming their first home win of the season, the Charleston Battery toppled the Pittsburgh Riverhounds in last Saturday's encounter at Blackbaud Stadium.  With 3,269 in attendance, Charleston outmatched and outgunned the Hounds on every corner of the pitch.  The game's only goal came at ten minutes as Nicki Patterson headed goalwards from a Jose Cuevas freekick.  The Battery's impenetrable defense allowed for another offensive game and the Low Country Boys managed an impressive thirteen shots to Pitt's six.  Charleston were unlucky not to have netted a few more, but Hunter Gilstrap helped the dogs hold on.  His opposite number between the sticks, Charleston's Andrew Dykstra had an impressive game as well.  With four important saves as well as solid leadership and cooperation from the back, the Battery recorded their second successive clean sheet.  Pittsburgh surged late in the second half but were unable to level the score.

This is another promising result for Charleston who after the weekend's action sit one point below league leaders Orlando City.  The win came with a cost, however.  Defensive midfielder Amadou Sanyang was taken off halfway through the match due to a lower abdominal injury.  As vitally important is the ankle sprain suffered by Jose Cuevas whose creativity and nose for goal has led the squad thus far.

On a positive note, Nicki Patterson seems to be making a habit of finding the net.  In the same vein, during the midweek returning Jamaican striker Dane Kelly put pen to paper along with his Caribbean compatriot Navion Boyd.  The Reggae Boyz have both come to Charleston from Jamaican Premier side Tivoli Gardens FC.  Kelly returns after a successful season with the Battery, scoring six goals and notching an assist last year.  Boyd, a member of the Jamaican national team, is a veteran striker for Tivoli Gardens scoring twenty-six goals in his stint with the club.  Both are ridiculously fast and should make our already successful strike force that much more dangerous!

Charleston host Antigua Barracuda FC Friday at the 'Baud and will be out for another strong result at home.  Judging from a USOC post earlier in the day, Open Cup fixtures will be forthcoming here in just a few days!  So stay tuned...and as always, Up the Battery!!