Ouch. Last Saturday the Kickers ran wild, handing the Battery their worst finish against their rivals in 17 years. Thats almost as long as the rivalry has existed. But after a long preseason characterized by confidence and goalscoring, maybe a black eye on opening day is just what the Battery needed to set their sights on defending their USL PRO title.
Here's how it happened. Despite controlling possession in the opening stages, the Kickers punished some careless defensive positioning and struck an early lead, heading the ball past Odisnel Cooper in the 23rd minute. In the 32rd, it was two-nil after Brian Owenby's incisive run triggered the go-ahead goal from Casey Townsend. Flipping the switch immediately, the Battery surged and seemed to have earned a penalty in the 39th minute as Jose Cuevas was dropped in the box. However the call was not given and even a few Richmond fans graciously admitted that a PK had probably been warranted. Not to be denied, Charleston would find the scoresheet in the final minute of the first half. The ageless John Wilson stole a march on defenders and deftly playing a one-two pass with Azira, lodged a furious shot firmly into the net. Interestingly enough, Wilson scored against former Battery teammate Andrew Dykstra who is on loan to the Kickers from DC United.
At the restart, Charleston were looking more like themselves, controlling the ball and creating chances. Ten minutes on, Paterson managed a lightning strike shot from a distance of about twenty yards, but the ball struck the post and the would-be equalizer soared to safety. Midway through the half, Charleston's comeback hopes were dealt a blow when Townsend scored again from close range. The Battery were frustrated in the final minutes as things went from bad to worse when Cody Ellison inadvertently turned a ball into the Charleston net. The own goal unofficially signaled the end of the contest as the Kickers completed a dream home opener.
Now its our turn.
While there's a lot to be said about last week's result, perhaps the most helpful is "At least that's out of the way!" There's not much sense in dwelling on the loss on reading into things. Its simply time to do better. Blackbaud looks primed for a sellout for the Battery's home opener against Antigua Saturday. Although the Barracudas finished at the bottom of the table last season, the Caribbeans can prove to be a prickly pear, having managedseveral upsets throughout the summer. That being said, it'll be a fantastic day to cheer on the Battery. With free t-shirts and fireworks, who could resist?? And if you can't make the match but are watching the live stream, keep your eyes on E-10...the Regiment has something special planned for ya!
But I'll see you at the 'Baud!!
(photo credit: USL PRO facebook page)