Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Battery Show Fight in CCC Goalfest

Braving the bitter cold, Battery fans were treated to a ten goal double feature exhibition Saturday night at Blackbaud Stadium in the opening round of the Carolina Challenge Cup.  And although Charleston fell 3-2 to the Vancouver Whitecaps, the boys have plenty to be proud of as the home played with spirit and determination against their MLS foes.

Vancouver opened the scoring early led Kekutah Manneh.  The rookie might have had a hat-trick, but his first attempt on goal in the second minute was adjudged offside.  Not to be denied, Manneh secured the first goal only two minutes later.  The Whitecaps made a strong showing offensively, belying the fact the game was a preseason friendly.  In the opening stages, Charleston were disorganized at the back and were it not for the reflexes of Kevin Klasila, the carnage could have been greater.  Manneh would score again in the 27th minute, burning down the left flank and searing the net with another well placed shot.  Regaining some composure, Charleston mounted an attack just before the break, but Jose Cuevas' shot slumped just wide of the far post.  

At the restart the 'Caps continued pouring it on and in the 50th minute Daigo Kobayashi volleyed home a strike that seemed taken from one of Ronaldinho's Nike videos.  I honestly think it was one of the most impressive goals I've seen at Blackbaud.  Even with the three goal deficit, the Battery were able to regroup and finish the match with admirable form.   Returning veteran Nicki Paterson rallied the troops and the charge, producing a goal in the 71st minute.  The Scotsman picked out the surging Dane Kelly who advanced to the final third.  Kelly chipped the ball to trialist Gibson Bardley who shrugged the defense and threaded it back to Patterson.  It was clinical finishing as Patterson's one-touch shot burried the ball into the roof of the net.  Charleston nearly doubled their tally six minutes later but was thwarted with a fine save from Vancouver's Brad Knighton.  However, Dane Kelly continued to make his mark on the match, ripping another Battery goal ten minutes from time.  Shouldering through the backline, the Jamaican expertly placed a magnificent goal.  Unfortunately, the whistle came at the wrong time for the boys as Charleston were unable to recover from Vancouver's early lead.  

The Battery have been training for just over a week, and considering the fact that the MLS regular season kick off is just around the corner, I think this is a fine result for Charleston.  Now there's plenty of room for improvement, especially concerning defensive solidarity, but that will come naturally as chemistry grows and the final roster is ironed out.  

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