Monday, May 20, 2013

Dynamo Defused!! Houston Reserves 0-1 Charleston

The Charleston Battery vaulted back into second place in the USL Pro standings with a resplendent performance Sunday morning, defeating the Houston Dynamo Reserves at BBVA Compass Stadium.  Making a strong argument for the virtues of lower division soccer, the Battery toppled arguably the best  Reserve Squad in the country (on their own turf), handing them their first loss of the season.

Although faced with a daunting road trip and a minor injury crisis, Charleston took the pitch as if they owned it.  Defender Taylor Mueller nearly opened the scoring in the 4th minute, but his headed shot arched over the crossbar.  And it was the Battery defense that kept things level, squelching several Dynamo attempts in the early going.  Momentum swung dramatically in favor of the visitors just after the quarter hour mark.  Springboarding from a critical stop by Odisnel Cooper, it was nearly all Charleston for the remainder of the half.  Jose Cuevas pulled the trigger before an open net in the 16th minute, but his effort sailed just wide.  Entering into a brilliant spell of possession, the Battery harried Houston's defense in a shot-a-minute term leading up to the half hour mark.  On 30 minutes, the Dynamo managed a lightning-counter and forced a fine punch save from Cooper.  However, Captain Colin Falvey collided aerially with the lunging goalie and was temporary removed from play in what proved to be a harmless but scary moment for Battery fans.

The eventual breakthrough would come in the 35th minute, as Charleston scored with play resulting from a free kick in Houston's defensive third.  Cuevas slotted the set piece to an advancing Emmanuel Adjety.  Crossing quickly, Dane Kelly was given the ball and room to work with.  The crafty Jamaican promptly put the Battery in front with a low shot to the far post.  Houston took the sucker-punch in stride and forced another save from Cooper within a minute of the goal.  However, long bouts of possession allowed Charleston to maintain the upper hand.

The second half was another chapter of the same story, with Charleston bossing the show by patient possession, running rings round their opponents.  The Dynamo certainly managed plenty of pressure, but the Battery defense was equal to the task.  In the final ten minutes of play, Houston's attack intensified with Brian Ching leading the charge, but Cooper held firm and recorded a handful of clutch saves to preserve all three points for Charleston.

This is an incredible result for the Battery and its no small thing for Charleston to dent the Dynamo Reserves' perfect record.  Now sitting firmly in second place in the standings, the Battery are well positioned to reset the bar in the USL Pro table.  The boys fly out of Houston this morning for Portland and the Timber's U-23's in their Tuesday night Open Cup tangle.  Thanks to the efforts of CHSSoccer.net, the Timbers have agreed to stream the match from JELD-WEN field.  With such a short turnaround and a good deal of travel time, the game will ask some serious questions about Charleston's depth and Cup credentials.  But if you ask me, I'm confident its another test we'll pass with flying colours!!

Oh and if you missed the Sunday morning match, the fine folks in Houston have already uploaded the full stream to YouTube!


(photo credit: Dynamo facebook)

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