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.  

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Preseason Continues

With only days before the Carolina Challenge Cup, training camp is in full swing for the Charleston Battery.  Here's an inside look as the defending USL Pro Champs dust off the cobwebs and get set to play host to some talent rich MLS squads:WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Remember, Charleston will face the Vancouver Whitecaps in the second match on Saturday.  The 'Caps are captained by EPL legend Jay Demerit and Vancouver just recently signed former Battery striker Tom "Wildman" Heinemann.  And since Charleston has been paired with the Houston Dynamo for a few matches this season, it will be good have a look at our MLS competition.

In the meantime, have you been following the Disney Pro Soccer Classic??

So far, its been an excellent showcase of up-and-coming talent, with lively preseason matches between MLS, USL, and NASL teams.  All the games are being streamed live on MLSsoccer.com.

An incredibly sharp Columbus Crew steamrolled the Philadelphia Union 4-0 earlier this afternoon.  Philly fielded several USL vets called up from Harrisburg, but the Union were no match for the Finlay & Finley show as Dominic Oduro played his part in dismantling the opposition as well.

Can't catch the games live?  No problem, highlights and full replays of every match are right here.

Also, the Desert Diamond Cup kicks off tonight as the Seattle Sounders take on the New England Revs.  Look for former Arsenal back Mikael Silvestre to feature for Seattle since the Premier League vet was only just snatched up from the Portland Timbers training camp.

Not enough for your football fix?  I heard some tidbit about an epic Champions League match or something like that...but if that won't do ya, then you'll just have to wait til Saturday!

(And if for some reason you can't make it to the 'Baud, those games will be streamed live on UNATION!!)


Friday, February 8, 2013

MLS Preseason Update

The Desert Friendlies

The Desert Friendlies conclude today as the PDL's FC Tucson square off with the Portland Timbers.  The DF's have been lively so far as several MLS contenders continue to fine-tune their squads.  Portland seem to be a step ahead of the competition, and it looks as though former EPL defensive back Mikael Silvestre has earned a spot in the Timbers Army.  In one of the early fixtures, FC Tucson gave Open Cup Champions Sporting KC a good run for their money, while giving the home fans something to cheer about as well.  With some outstanding in-goal heroics, Tucson are off to a bright start in 2013.  Enjoy the highlights from that encounter:

Cooper trains with FCD in Cancun
Cooper Returns to FC Dallas
In a surprising move this week, the New York Red Bulls traded striker Kenny Cooper to FC Dallas for allocation money and a draft selection.  The former Hoops man had an outstanding season with New York scoring 18 goals and recording several assists. 
 A Dallas native, Cooper began his professional career with FCD.  Having played in Europe with 1860 Munich and Plymouth Argyle, the forward returned to the States joining the Portland Timbers in their inaugural MLS season.  After signing with the Red Bulls, Cooper enjoyed his most productive run since leaving Texas.  No doubt, the locals will be happy about his homecoming, and with the combination of recently acquired Eric Hassli, the two could quickly form the most lethal strike force in the league.

(photo credit: FC Tucson facebook, FCD facebook)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Big Changes for Charleston

Lots of changes are swirling around the Battery as the club begins to gear up for the Carolina Challenge Cup and the 2013 USL Pro season.  Camp begins tomorrow and the CCC kicks off in just over a week, so I'm sure we can look forward to news of the latest signings and returning players over the next several days.

Patterson Re-ups 

Perhaps the biggest news this week is that Nicki Paterson has agreed to terms, returning for his third season with the Charleston Battery.  The Scottish international has notched 20 goals and half a dozen assists playing for Charleston, earning over 50 caps for the Black and Gold.  Paterson is currently training with the New York Red Bulls, but is excited about his return to the Lowcountry.  He is expected to be available for selection in the Carolina Challenge Cup.

There are eleven other players currently listed on Charleston's 2013 roster.  They are as follows:
Micheal Azira  
Jose Cuevas    
Cody Ellison
Colin Falvey
Kevin Klasila
JC Mack
Taylor Mueller
Ryan Richter
Amadou Sanyang
John Wilson
Mark Wiltse

New Website

In case you haven't noticed, the Battery have just unveiled their entirely redesigned website.  The new page not only looks sharp, but it has a sleek design and an interface that's easy to navigate.  The site boasts several new features and links, including a detailed photo roster, simplified ticket purchasing, and my personal favorite Battery TV!

New Kit 

This year the club has moved from Umbro to Nike as the official provider of team apparel and gear.  The switch will encompass everything from training uniforms, player gear, and the official kit used by the Charleston Battery.  The new kit will be revealed February 15 in the press conference preceding the Carolina Challenge Cup.

New Sponsor

The team also has a new lead sponsor SPARCET.  SPARCET is a software company whose applications are used to recognize and engage employees across a network with the overall goal of boosting morale and productivity.

(photo credit: Charleston Battery facebook)