Williams makes dominance pay as Battery down Toronto

Romario Williams scored a late winner as the Battery picked up the three points against Toronto FC II. The visitors can be happy with their performance, and after TFC had shut down well, the dam finally burst late on.

The Battery played with two out and out center forwards, with Heviel Cordoves and Romario Williams up front in a 4-3-1-2 of sorts. This is one of the few times this has happened so far this year, with the usual partnership of Ricky Garbanzo and Williams as more of a 4-4-1-1.

The Battery were the better team for most of the first half, creating half chances, but finding little room to maneuver inside the box in front of a well-oiled Toronto defense. In the 12th minute, Attaulah Guerra, who seems to have found a bit of a niche as an attacking midfielder, got to the byline well, but his ball back across found no one.

Quinton Griffith got a ball in a minute later, which had a bit too much purchase on it, but was misplayed by the Toronto ‘keeper, only to be cleared by Wesley Charpie.

Five minutes later, some good build up play fell to Zach Prince, whose effort went wide of goal.

The Battery had their first corner of the evening after 26 minutes, but the cross was headed away before a second ball was collected by the goalkeeper, Phil Di Bennardo.

Maikel Chang looked dangerous on the ball with a run down the middle on 37 but his pass toward the front two from the edge of the box was cleared.

Sal Bernal then came close shortly before half time, after he latched onto a long ball and took a shot, but the effort went into the side netting.

Emmanuel Adjetey played in Guerra on 44′, who was given time to turn and shoot, but the defense held firm for Toronto, and the deflected shot went back off of Guerra for a goal kick.

So, at the end of the first half, it was the Battery who had been the better side, but Toronto’s defense remained stout and denied them a real chance at goal.

And it looked as if though hard work would pay off when Toronto came quick out the blocks for the 2nd half. The ball was quickly played wide and in to Bernal, but his shot went high and over the bar.

Justin Portillo would play Guerra through on 56′, but his shot was high. Guerra had been one of the Battery’s best players up until that point, but had been unlucky not to find the back of the net as he had gotten into some dangerous positions.

Toronto were dealt a blow just after the hour mark when midfielder Malik Johnson, who had come on just six minutes earlier, and was showing well with his early touches, sustained an injury and had to be replaced. This played into the Battery’s hands a little, as TFC began to come out a little bit more when the sub was made, and with Johnson going off so early after coming on, the game plan changed again for the home side.

During the stoppage in play as Johnson was hurt, the Battery made a switch themselves, bringing on Ricky Garbanzo for Heviel Cordoves. Cordoves showed well in his hour and change on the field, and was a focal point of the attack in the first half, but it was Garbanzo who would prove to be crucial as the match wore on.

It was indeed Garbanzo who would press a defender high up the pitch to win the ball on 68′, the defender unaware of his surroundings. Garbanzo would play into Romario Williams, whose shot was well saved by the goalkeeper, as the Battery maybe began to believe that this would maybe be one of those days.

With just under a quarter of an hour to go, some more good build up play led to a post up by Williams, who laid off to Portillo, and the Battery’s midfield metronome had a crack, but it went straight at the ‘keeper.

But only a minute later, Charpie, who made an important play at the other end for Toronto in the first half, whipped in a dangerous ball toward Sal Bernal, who dove for the header at the back post, but he couldn’t direct his effort on goal.

On 79’, Zach Prince would tee up a shot from just outside the box that seemed destined for the top corner, but Toronto’s Di Bennardo made a great save to deny the midfielder.

But then, a few minutes later, as the Battery continued to go at the home side’s defense, the pressure finally told. A ball was cut out in midfield, before Ricky Garbanzo latched on and ran at the back line, finding room and taking a shot, which was well saved by the ‘keeper, but spilled right into the path of Romario Williams, who cleaned up the rebound and slotted home.

The Battery would have been feeling a  certain weight lift off their shoulders, as the game seemed to be going the way that this fixture had at around this time last year, in which Quillan Roberts made 10 saves in a match where the Battery were the better team, but ended up losing in stoppage time after Roberts’ inspired performance.

But the match wasn’t over yet, as Sal Bernal latched onto a ball with four minutes left of normal time, looking to put an effort on goal, but he was called offside.

And then, deep into stoppage time, things only got worse for TFC II, as Skylar Thomas was shown a second yellow for a challenge off the ball on Chris Tsonis, who replaced the goalscorer Williams shortly after his goal.

And after the full four minutes of added time was played, the referee blew for full time, giving the Battery all three points.

In the end, the Black and Yellow could say that the deserved the win, after controlling large portions of the match, and will return home happy after doing plenty of hard work to earn it.

The Battery’s next match is on Saturday, July 2nd as they return home to face the Richmond Kickers. Kick-off is at 7:30.

TOP IMAGE: ROMARIO WILLIAMS FINISHES TO PUT THE BATTERY AHEAD IN THE BATTERY’S LAST MEETING WITH TFC II. ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTO

 

Portillo pen edges Battery past Islanders

Justin Portillo‘s late spot kick took the Battery past the visiting City Islanders on Saturday night. It was a match that had little in terms of chances, but ebbed and flowed at times, with both teams probably wanting a bit more from the night, but the Battery claimed all three points, lifting them out of a bit of a slump.

The Battery took the slump as an opportunity to make a few changes and rest some players, and it was Chris Tsonis who got the start in place of Romario Williams, while Shawn Ferguson was back beside Taylor Mueller in the center of defense, and Alex Tambakis was in between the sticks, giving Odisnel Cooper the night off.

It was Tsonis that got things going early on for the Battery, and he had the ball in the net on nine minutes, but he needed to time his run better, as he was called offside. The finish was one of convenience for the ‘keeper more than anything, and the scores would stay 0-0.

A run up the touchline for the Battery on 12 minutes would eventually find its way to Maikel Chang, who, with Dante Marini and Zach Prince taking up the wings for the home side, found himself more central at times tonight, beside Attaulah Guerra in midfield or behind the striker, Tsonis. But Chang’s effort after receiving the pass from the right lacked power, and was saved easily.

The Islanders found themselves with a chance only a few minutes later, when a cross Shawn McLaws from the left was fired by Paul Williams toward Alex Tambakis in goal, but it, like Chang’s effort before, lacked power.

The visitors had a lot of possession in the opening half, getting into good positions, but also not really troubling the defense that much either. Shawn Ferguson showed his class on a few occasions, impressing on his return from injury, while beside him, Taylor Mueller marshalled well as the two kept things organized and compact.

The first real chance in earnest did fall to the Islanders, though, on a free kick in the 35th that was whipped straight at Tambakis, in a position that many thought would probably lead to a cross, and the bend made things a bit awkward for the goalie on the near post, but he did well to punch the ball away as he was diving sort of into his own net to keep the ball out, and the ball was eventually cleared.

But it seemed as if the Battery did eventually turn the screw a little bit and find another level, their first chance coming from some fancy skills in and around the box with a few volleyed passes, and the ball fell to Attaulah Guerra, whose attempted chip just had a little too much power, and went over the bar. The move certainly did deserve a goal, but it wasn’t happening for the home side at that moment.

With 41 minutes gone, it was Chang and Portillo linking up at the edge of the area, as Chang did well to fashion some space, but only had the lay off to Portillo on, as the ball didn’t sit right for him. Chang found his midfield partner, and Portillo curled one that was destined for the upper 90, but his attempt was foiled by a certain contender for the USL’s Save of the Week by Nick Noble in goal for the visitors.

That’s the way the first half ended, with the Islanders perhaps the better team for the opening half hour, but the Battery did come into it a little more as the half came to a close, and probably went in the better of the two sides.

After another sluggish start to the second half, Tsonis was replaced by Romario Williams, the Battery’s top scorer, who started the night on the bench, probably in the hopes that the home side would be able to give him a rest. Tsonis didn’t have the worst game, but the service was lacking, and as the match wore on, it became apparent the Battery needed someone who could create his own chances.

Just past the hour mark, Obrien Woodbine would go into the book after giving away a foul on the left wing, the free kick didn’t lead to anything, however, and the chance was gone.

It was then Woodbine a bit later with a nice ball played through for Williams, who latched on, but the angle for a shot was always against him. The striker went with power toward the far post with the shot, aiming for the roof of the net, but the ball sailed high.

Another sub, Emmanuel Adjetey, would have his part to play in the final say of things, though. Coming on for Guerra, he did well to quickly put his pace to good use, and with eight minutes to go, created what would be a turning point.

He was played through after a layoff by Romario Williams, running into the box, toward the byline, and probably had an angle to shoot from, with the onrushing goalkeeper closing in. But Adjetey would just squeeze the ball past Noble, who kept coming and collided with the man. The referee pointed to the spot as a penalty was given, giving the Battery the chance to take the lead late on.

The penalty was coolly dispatched by Justin Portillo, who gave the ‘keeper the eyes, waiting for him to commit before slotting past him into the bottom corner.

Adjetey was at it again with two minutes to go, getting free and leading a counter at pace and playing Ricky Garbanzo through, who sent the ball back across, but the ball wasn’t controlled properly, and fell back to Garbanzo in an offside position.

The visitors would make it a bit nervy near the end, which would come from a ball that the Battery will say they should have cleared first time, after a layoff at the edge of the area. The initial shot lacked power, but the ball wasn’t cleared as it rolled inside the box, the Battery scrambled around for a moment before a defender put his foot through it, and the referee blew for full time.

So, the three points snapped a two game home losing streak, which was in stark contrast to the 29 game winning streak the Battery had previously on their home patch.The next game is on Sunday, June 26, as the Battery travel to Canada to take on Toronto FC II

TOP IMAGE: JUSTIN PORTILLO’S CALM CELEBRATION MATCHES HIS MATCH-WINNING PENALTY. VIN DUFFY PHOTO

 

 

 

 

Sleepy start costs Battery against Orlando

The Battery’s early mistakes cost them in a feisty affair on Saturday. 2 quick goals left the Battery in a hole before the home side got a Penalty after Tyler Turner was sent off for poking Ricky Garbanzo on the stroke of halftime.Despite throwing everything but the kitchen sink at them in the second half, OCB held on for the three points.

The Battery came out sleepy, and almost paid for it when an 11th minute free kick hit the bar for the visitors, and may have been a sign of things to come.

But on 13′, Romario Williams had an effort go wide after doing well to turn his man. The effort was decent, but unlucky to not go in

But the early mistakes would cost the Black and Yellow, as Michael Cox would get free and slot home to the far post past Odisnel Cooper.

On 23′, it was Forrest Lasso with a great challenge after Cox beat Taylor Mueller. The challenge was last ditch, as Cox would have been clean through.

And then, only a few minutes later, Emmanuel Adjetey almost put himself into a spot of bother, misclearing a ball which fell to an OCB player, but his shot went to the ‘keeper.

On 26’, Justin Portillo‘s shot from range was saved, but the Battery were coming into it more, and a goal looked like it was perhaps on the cards for the home side.

And ten minutes later was probably the Battery’s best chance of the first half, and certainly up until that point. Romario Williams got the ball played into him from deep and got to the byline before playing in a cross low, but nobody was there to tap home, and the ball was cleared.

But just when it looked like the Battery had turned the tide, the visitors doubled their tally, when a free kick was given to OCB on the right of the box, which was played in at the front post and headed past a helpless Odisnel Cooper who had come to claim and missed the ball. Things were looking bleak for the home side as we approached half time.

But then, deep into first half stoppage time, a challenge went into Ricky Garbanzo, who stayed down. Center back Tyler Turner wasn’t amused, however, and, without provocation, poked Garbanzo in the eye. The infringement was spotted by one of the referee’s assistants, and a penalty was given, with Turner dismissed, and the penalty that was given, was dispatched coolly by Justin Portillo.

So the Battery perhaps had a little momentum going into half time, with only a goal down, but a man up. So they would have to throw the kitchen sink at the OCB defense in the second half.

And they did so. Battery pressure led to a 51st minute cross by Portillo finding Forrest Lasso back post, but his headed effort went straight at the ‘keeper.

On 56’, Romario Williams could’ve put us level after getting free and firing toward goal, but his shot was tipped by ‘keeper Mark Ridgers onto the post and cleared away.

Then, a few minutes later, Ricky Garbanzo had curled an effort after some nice build up play from the hosts, but his shot would go high and wide, which would be his last action of the match, as Heviel Cordoves would replace him shortly after.

A cross from the right went back post with a quarter of an hour to go toward Mueller, but his header would be collected by the ‘keeper.

Williams got free in the box on the right with 10 minutes left, but his shot went over the bar as time began to run out for the home side.

The Battery even threw on more firepower with five minutes left, brining on Austin Savage, who replaced Forrest Lasso. Savage being a center forward or winger, and already having one game-winner to his name this season having snapped a three game winning streak against Harrisburg.

But it wasn’t to be, as a bit of a speculative effort by Maikel Chang went wide, and the Battery’s fate was soon sealed, despite being up a man, and the full time whistle blew.

It wasn’t for the want of trying, but the Battery’s poor start to the game cost them in the end. The next match is against Harrisburg on  June 18th at Home. Kick off is at 7:30.

The day was not a total loss, as the U.S. clinched their place in the Copa America Quarter Final, beating Paraguay 1-0, in a match that was on the newly-constructed jumbotron “Broadside” immediately following the Battery match.

TOP IMAGE: ROMARIO WILLIAMS AVOIDS A LAST DITCH CHALLENGE AGAINST AN OCB DEFENDER. ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTO

 

 

 

The Regiment interview with Eric Bowman: Part Two

A/N In the second part of the Supporters’ Club interview with Eric Bowman, we take a look at some of the changes already happening, and in place to take the Battery forward on and off the pitch.

In the second part of our article, we recap the meeting with members of three main supporter’s groups; La Barra, Queen Anne’s Revenge and The Regiment with Eric Bowman, owner, Andrew Bell, president, and Suzanne Brandon of the Charleston Battery. Read the Q&A with Eric Bowman on Black and Yellow Post here.

When Eric Bowman took over ownership of the Charleston Battery in February, it didn’t take long for news to come out about huge video board that would be installed at MUSC Health Stadium. Other upgrades were announced; an upgrade to the stadium WiFi and a new audio system was installed.

But the upgrades didn’t stop there. A complete overhaul of the front office was completed shortly before the season began. New ticketing software and point of sale systems were implemented. New flat screen TVs were put in the pub. All the bathrooms were cleaned and repainted. Water fountains are being repaired. Nearly every aspect of the stadium that you can see is being touched in some way.

Some of the things happening aren’t so obvious to the casual fan. As Bowman leads representatives of the supporter clubs through the locker rooms, he shows us more improvements being made. It’s likely most won’t see the modernized locker rooms, but the players will certainly appreciate the update. There is now a more efficient and time saving program for contacting the Battery’s contact list too.

Work is being done behind the scenes in the pub too. Improvements to the menu and expanding its hours are being explored.

Perhaps the biggest changes to come is the utilization of the giant video board (unofficially nick-named “Broadside”) Using a video streaming app call Stre.am will allow fans to broadcast their unique view and perspective of the match for others to see. Imagine seeing the tailgate and march into the stadium on the big screen, encourage others to get involved. Eventually Bowman hopes to have an in-game app which will allow fans to vote on their man of the match and be able to see real time results in a bar graph on the screen.

There is to be a summer movie series starting this week. And Bowman mentioned that they were looking to attract high-level tournaments and other events to the stadium in the off season. They worked quickly to move the kick off forward to facilitate fans being able to watch the US v. Paraguay Copa 2016 match. Bowman also said they got a game console connected to the screen for FIFA play while joking about needing a 300 foot HDMI cable.

But some of the changes met with mixed reviews. The removal the playground being one. But Bowman described the rusty metal pipes and potential safety issues to the 18-year old structure, it had to go. There are ideas to bring back a play area of some sorts aimed at younger kids but also an area for pre-teens too.

The increase in season tickets was a shock for many. But Bowman was very open with the finances and comparing to many other USL markets, and so it was easier to accept the price increase excepted. The ticket prices are on par with them and the increase were necessary for the future of the club.

These are the building blocks of looking forward. Much like building a house, you have to have a solid foundation. The improvement will help solidify the efforts Tony Bakker started in 1993 and advanced in 1999 with the building of the stadium. Once those building blocks are in place, other advance can be made to help realize Eric Bowman’s vision of making Charleston a MLS city.

Obviously those changes take time but perhaps the most exciting thing isn’t the endgame of MLS, it is an owner that is ambitious and has a long term plan for the club. One that will extend the Battery’s legacy of one of the longest continuous professional clubs in the United States.

The Regiment Interview with Eric Bowman: Part One

A/N Battery owner Eric Bowman took time to sit down with the Official Supporters’ Club, The Regiment, earlier this week, and was kind enough to give some insight into things that have gone on on and off the pitch so far this year.

In a two-part series with new Battery owner Eric Bowman, we take a look at the some of the changes happening, some very noticeable and some not so noticeable. In this first part, we ask Eric a few questions and find out a bit about his vision for the Charleston Battery. In the second part, we’ll discuss those changes more in-depth.

 

When the sale of the Charleston Battery was announced in February, it came as a shock to some long-time fans. Tony Bakker help start the club in 1993. Before the 1994 World Cup, before MLS began in 1996. In 1999, Tony build the first privately-funded Soccer Specific Stadium. The Battery has a long legacy, with four championships, a US Open Cup final appearance and a passionate fan base.

But anytime there is change, people react differently and the sale was no different: excitement, trepidation, uncertainty, speculation. Rumors about the club’s direction and future started. Eric Bowman was gracious enough to answer some those concerns and met with a group of supporters from the Regiment, Queen Anne’s Revenge, and La Barra this week and we were shown that a lot is going on, both the obvious and behind the scenes and the club is heading in an exciting direction.

 

When did you first get into soccer and how?

I played growing up and always had an appreciation for the sport. Now I have kids who play, so I’m around the game constantly. Obviously it’s a big part of my life both personally and professionally, but I started out as a fan of soccer and my role with the Battery doesn’t change that.

I know you have been a huge sponsor of the Battery for the last three years, what prompted you to buy the Battery?

When you look at the Battery and see the history and sustained success of the team on and off the field, then realize that the Club has reached such a level based on the vision of an amazing entrepreneur from 20+ years ago, you have to see potential. I respect what the previous ownership did for the fans and the community, but we’re excited to take the Club and the stadium to new places and break the mold of the status quo a little bit. With the capabilities and resources we have at B Sports, we are working to turn MUSC Health Stadium into one of the most intimate soccer venues in the country; and I think we can do that and still respect the established traditions of the Club.

What do you foresee in the Battery’s future and soccer in America?

We want to take the Battery as high as we can and we won’t put a limit on the possibilities. The long ­term goal is to turn Charleston into an MLS city. Obviously that’s a long way off, but we think it’s attainable. There’s talk of MLS expanding to Saint Louis, Sacramento, San Antonio etc. so the jump from USL to MLS is within our reach. If MLS wants to be in a particular market, the League will find a way to make it happen. Our job is to turn Charleston into a market that MLS wants to expand to. If we can leverage the sport’s growing popularity nationally and the dedicated local fan base that’s been here from the start with the improvements we’re making on the field and in the stadium, we’ll get there.

The score board is great; can we expect more improvements around the stadium?

The video board gives us the ability to interact with fans like we never have before. We’re changing the in­-stadium experience and making it more interactive. We want to make fans a part of the team’s matches, instead of simply being spectators. The jumbotron gives us the ability to bring the fans closer to the players, coaches, front office staff and each other. It provides fans with an accessible feedback loop, which will help us improve the overall experience. When we have things fully integrated, fans will be able to order food from their seats, request what they want to see and hear in the stadium while at the game, and Stre.am live from their seats to the video board. We’re also revamping the Pub and working on plans to bring entertainment for young kids and young adults to the stadium on game days. This will likely not be done until next season.

Many expected a rise in cost of season and game day tickets. Can you explain some of the process of coming to that decision?

We’ve changed almost every aspect of what we do behind the scenes to put a product on the field on game day, so that’s going to lead to changes elsewhere. The front office understands that after 23 years with the previous ownership, the changes may be a bit shocking at first, but the increases are consistent with the improvements we’re making at the Club.

Any final words for the fans and supporters?

We’re appreciative of the support and want to continue to grow the Club together. The fans have been and will continue to be a huge part of what we’re doing and we need your help to reach the goals we’ve set. The existing fan base is incredibly loyal, we want to harness that passion and spread it as the Club expands and gains recognition nationally.

 

 

 

 

Battery hold on to win in Pittsburgh

The Charleston Battery staved off the Pittsburgh Riverhounds behind a pair of first half goals. Obi Woodbine converted a penalty that he earned before Taylor Meuller volleyed home a few minutes later to double the lead, while a second half screamer from the home side made things a bit testy, but the Black and Yellow held on to earn a hard fought three points.

Regular starters for the Battery such as Shawn Ferguson and Justin Portillo began the game on the bench for the visitors after playing in midweek, while Taylor Meuller and Forrest Lasso were in the center of defense. Attaulah Guerra and Naveal Hackshaw would earn their first start together in midfield. It was Alex Tambakis in goal for the Battery, whilst Heviel Cordoves was the man up front, deputizing for the suspended Romario Williams.

The home side would have the better of possession in the early goings, but the Battery would slowly but surely come into it. Heviel Cordoves went up for a header off a cross after 17 minutes but it was saved by the ‘keeper.

Midfielder Stephen Okai would set up a great chance for Pittsburgh shortly afterward, as his low cross was flicked by Kevin Kerr onto Corey Hertzog, whose scissor kick effort went straight to Alex Tambakis.

On 26, Heviel Cordoves did well to win the ball back in midfield and played Attaulah Guerra in a dangerous position, but the midfielder looked to his right and saw Zach Prince on the overlap and dummied him as Prince had a pop at goal, but his effort went wide.

A minute or so later, Pittsburgh could’ve had a penalty. A long ball was played forward to Hertzog, who latched on, with Taylor Meuller at his back. Hertzog shot wide, but was having his shirt pulled in the process, and the Battery just might have gotten away with one.

Defender Jordan Murrell for the Riverhounds got the ball through in a dangerous position on the left edge of the penalty area, before squaring back to Hertzog, who took a touch to get away from his man and shot, but the ball was deflected, and hit Murrell, who was still on the edge of the box in an offside position, and the flag went up.

Then, just a few seconds after Pittsburgh had the chance, Obrien Woodbine went up the touchline on the right, made a move to get around the aforementioned Murrell, and went down in the box as the defender fouled him. The referee pointed to the spot, and the penalty was given.

It was a bit cruel, perhaps, on the home side, given their shout for an earlier spot kick. But it was Woodbine to step up to the spot and take. Normally, they say a player should never take a penalty which he’s earned, but Woodbine put the penalty away coolly to give the Battery the lead.

Four minutes from time, Lebo Moloto went at the Battery defense and eventually got a shot off, forcing Tambakis into a save.

And on 43′, the Battery would double their lead. It came from a free kick played in from about halfway into the attacking half by Maikel Chang, which was knocked down at the back stick, before Taylor Meuller got a foot to it and sent a volleyed effort past a sprawling Mauricio Vargas in Pittsburgh’s goal.

And that was the scoreline as we went into half time. It was, again, perhaps a little harsh on Pittsburgh, who should’ve had a penalty, but after a shaky start from the visitors, the Battery had come into the game a lot more and took their goals well, and ended the half the better side.

Dante Marini came on for Maikel Chang at half time, and fashioned the Battery’s first chance of the second half. He was played down the line by Ricky Garbanzo before tricking his way past his man and firing a shot toward goal, but the effort was saved.

But on 52′, the Riverhounds had a lifeline. The ball popped out to Rob Vincent, who was given time and space, and fired a speculative effort toward goal from all of 30 yards. The ball made its way through a crowd of bodies, which may have meant that Tambakis saw it late, but it arrowed into the bottom corner to make the score 2-1 and reduce the deficit.

The home side understandably threw a bit more at the Black and Yellow after that, and quickly fashioned another chance. A Cross by Kevin Kerr toward Corey Hertzog at the back post would have to be smothered by Tambakis who came quickly off his line, and the ball was cleared.

Heviel Cordoves would come off on 62′, to be replaced by Chris Tsonis for the Battery. Cordoves put in a pretty good shift, earning a well deserved rest, and Tsonis gave yet another attacking option to the visitors.

A 65th minute corner looked dangerous, but would be collected by Tambakis with not much fuss. However, the Riverhounds were coming into it a little bit more, and the Battery would have to turn the screw a little.

Chris Tsonis was booked for a foul only a few minutes after coming on after he grabbed ahold of a Pittsburgh midfield while trying to stop a counter, but nothing much led to the opportunity. Garbanzo was also booked a couple minutes later, meaning both strikers would have to be on their best behavior.

On 76 came the Battery’s best chance of the second half. Zach Prince would play a tasty ball with the outside of his foot on the edge of the box to Ricky Garbanzo, who spotted the ‘keeper a little bit off his line and let fly a speculative chip toward goal, which dipped at the last minute and forced the goalkeeper into a sprawling effort, and he saved with his left hand.

Naveal Hackshaw would have to be replaced due to injury by Shawn Ferguson with nine minutes left. Hackshaw had been down a few times in the game before that, and it looked as if the game had gotten to him.

Attaulah Guerra would then be replaced after he went down holding the back of his leg by Jose Nazereno with just a few minutes to go. With Guerra just coming back from injury, Battery fans will hope that his injury wasn’t serious as it looked as if he was grabbing his groin or hamstring area.

Into five minutes stoppage time, Nazereno’s pace would cause a problem for defender Sergio Cambpell, who brought him down on the edge of the box. Campbell was the last man back for Pittsburgh, and the referee adjudged him to have denied the striker a goalscoring opportunity, sending the defender off.

And with Pittsburgh down to ten men, the match played out to its conclusion, giving the Battery a hard fought three points.

The Battery’s next match is against Orlando City B on June 11th, with kick off at 7:30 at MUSC Health Stadium.

TOP IMAGE: Pittsburgh’s ‘keeper Hunter Gilstrap wins a ball in the first meeting of the year between the Battery and Riverhounds. Ross Almers Photography photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

Battery unlucky in Cup loss to Jacksonville

The Jacksonville Armada have ended the Battery’s Cup run on Wednesday night. An early goal from Patrick Otte put the hosts ahead before Chris Tsonis equalized. It took extra time, but Al Keita won it in the 117th minute to take Jacksonville through to the next round

Matt Fondy and Danny Barrow piled on the pressure early for the Armada, as the home side came out the better of the two to start the match, but though both players had a shot each, Odisnel Cooper wasn’t beaten.

That all changed on 17, when Patrick Otte linked up well with a series of flicks on the edge of the box, and with the defenders occupied, took the chance to chip Cooper and make it 1-0. It was deserved, as Jacksonville had been the better side up until that point and it certainly looked as if a goal was on the cards for the home side.

But then, with just the next attack, the Battery were level. The play started with a clearance and ball played down the line to Romario Williams. Williams held off his man and made his way up the touchline before seeing the run of Chris Tsonis, who beat his marker to the ball and tucked away for the equalizer. This is something the Battery had been known for in the past, soaking up pressure and then picking their moments to spring into the attack. The goal was Chris Tsonis’ second in two US Open Cup matches, having scored a late equalizer in the last round.

But on 27, Bryan Burke played a ball long to Matt Fondy, who laid the ball off to Junior Sandoval, but his shot went over the bar.

On 35, it was another good chance for the Battery as Maikel Chang curled a ball in toward the back post for Forrest Lasso. Lasso rose high to meet the ball, and surely meant to head the ball back across, but his effort was saved by the ‘keeper.

The last chance of the first half also fell to the home side, as Brandon Burke got to the byline on the right wing and put in a tantalizing ball looking for Charles Elondou, but the striker missed the ball by inches on the slide.

Junior Sandoval rose to meet a corner in the first attack of the second half, but Odisnel Cooper made another smart save and pushed it out for another corner, which led to nothing.

The first real opportunity in the 2nd half for the Battery came just after the hour mark, a free kick from distance was shot straight into the wall, the rebound falling to Emmanuel Adjetey, but his shot on target never troubled the ‘keeper, despite a good deal of bend on the effort, and the score remained 1-1.

And then, on 64’, Dante Marini played in Williams, who got to the byline before getting a shot off, which was deflected, but the ensuing corner led to nothing.

With nine minutes left, Romario Williams led a very dangerous counter up the left side, and unlike his earlier attempt, squared back, looking for a late run at the top of the box, and Justin Portillo’s shot was blocked, and the rebound, which fell to Maikel Chang, was put over the bar.

And so, to extra time we went, and the Armada again had chances early on, neither of which troubled Odisnel Cooper.

The Battery’s biggest chance of Extra Time came by way of a ball up to Ricky Garbanzo, but the last man was there to clean it up. Garbanzo went down and there was a hint of a penalty shout for the forward, but play resumed.

And it worked out well for the Armada, as the counter led to the eventual winner for the home side. The replay of the Garbanzo chance was still being played, but it was Al Keita who was played in, given time to pick his spot, and slid the ball under Odisnel Cooper. There was also a hint of offside about the goal, as it looked as if the last defender, Shawn Ferguson, had stepped up just in time, but the goal stood.

And that’s how it finished. The Battery fought well, but in the end, just couldn’t get over the line. They return to league play this Saturday, June 4th, travelling to Pittsburgh to take on the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, with Kick off at 7.