Battery get revenge on Jacksonville to advance in Open Cup

The Charleston Battery’s fourth round US Open Cup tie against the Jacksonville Armada was settled by a 24th minute own goal, which was enough to see them through after a tough defensive showing from the Black and Yellow.

The Battery put out what was pretty much their first choice XI in what was their third match in six days, with Forrest Lasso back after missing the last two matches, and Tah Brian Anunga slotting in at right back for Quinton Griffith. Odisnel Cooper kept his place in goal whilst the tandem of Romario Williams and Attaula Guerra would play up front.

The Battery had chances early, and even had the ball in the net as early as the 10th minute, but the whistle blew for offside and the score remained 0-0.

Romario Williams sent a chance wide of the target on 17′, as the Battery looked to be in control in the early goings.

But the Armada had a chance at the other end a few minutes later, as striker Byram Rebellon sent a chance wide of Odisnel Cooper’s goal.

And then, in the 24th minute, the Battery broke the deadlock. It was set up by a well timed ball into the feet of Attaula Guerra, who would peel off his man and get to the byline before putting the ball low and hard into the middle. The cross failed to find an attacker’s foot, but instead found Drew Beckie, a Jacksonville defender, whose clearance was arrant and rolled into the net to make it 1-0. Guerra would injure himself producing the chance, however, and would eventually have to be replaced by Dante Marini.

Former USL standout Mechack Jerome had the next chance shortly after when he stood at the controls for a free kick about 30 yards out, and looked to go for power to level things up, but his effort was wide of the target and the visitors remained in front.

The Armada tried to turn the screw a little bit as we ended the first half, but a resilient Battery defense yielded little opening before the break and the Black and Yellow went ahead.

The Battery went in with their tails up and looking solid, but would be hesitant to get carried away following giving up two second half goals from the same winning position on Sunday against NYRB II, and would look to continue their defensive stronghold in the second half.

And coming out of the break, they could’ve doubled their advantage, when on 52′, Naveal Hackshaw would play Williams in. His shot toward the far post would force a good save out of the Jacksonville ‘keeper, and seconds later, the home side would be on the break.

Forrest Lasso would be the man to clear the danger for the Battery as the Armada would curl a cross toward the back post, and despite penalty appeals from the Jacksonville striker, the referee was unphased, and play would continue.

Lasso would then be booked on 56′, after he committed a foul on the right wing, giving the home side an opportunity to whip a ball into the box on a free kick, but the ball was cleared and eventually went out for a throw in.

Tah Brian Anunga would then give away a foul from a similar position on the opposite side a couple minutes later, but this one didn’t even find its way into the box, and this time it was the Battery’s chance to start a counter.

Dante Marini would use his pace to power into an advanced position before playing for Romario Williams to his right, who found a man at the top of the box only for the first touch to let him down and allow Jacksonville to clear.

But just after the hour mark, Marini would use his pace to create a chance after receiving a pass inside. His effort wasn’t unlike Williams’ earlier chance, as he would try to curl an effort toward the far post. He would just steady himself before getting the shot away, however, which would give the ‘keeper time to do the same, and he would save before the ball was cleared.

With just a little more than 15 left, Jacksonville would earn a corner that looked dangerous before Cooper would, not for the first time tonight, catch the ball and relieve the pressure.

Shortly after, Dante Marini would use his pace to run down an errant ball and set up Obi Woodbine for a trademark long throw in, though nothing came of the chance.

Romario Williams had perhaps the best chance to settle things when he turned on the jets to get around his man on the right, but his shot that looked all but destined for the bottom corner, went just wide.

Williams would have another chance just a minute later, this time receiving a pass from Hackshaw before beating his man and getting to the byline, and putting another shot wide, this one, however, was from a bit harder of an angle, more acute, and from what normally would be a crossing position, though he didn’t have many more options and decided to have an effort himself.

The lack of insurance looked to put the Battery in danger of conceding an equalizer with just five minutes left, when a Jacksonville corner would be cleared, but eventually trickle its way through the heart of the area and would leave Cooper flat-footed as he originally thought the chance would roll harmlessly wide before taking a deflection and going behind for another corner.

This one would skim the head of an attacker up from the back and then take another flick toward goal before Cooper would pluck it out of the air and relieve pressure.

Nico Rittmeyer, who must’ve been waiting for a good eight minutes, would come on with a minute of normal time to go, replacing Maikel Chang.

Four minutes of stoppage time were added, and the final chance would fall to the home side.

Naveal Hackshaw, who to this point had had perhaps his best performance this season, lost track of his man, and was forced into a foul, allowing every man to find his way into the box, including the ‘keeper, for Jacksonville. The free kick was cleared by a stout Battery defense, but a shot back in went high over Odisnel Cooper’s crossbar, the danger averted for the Black and Yellow.

And that was how it finished. The Battery had exacted revenge against the team who ousted them from the competition at this stage last year, and will go on to face MLS affiliate Atlanta United in the fourth round on June 14th at Fifth Third Bank Stadium on the campus of Kennesaw State University.

Their next match will be on June 3rd, as they return home to face Louisville in what will be the main event of a triple-header of Football action as MUSC Health Stadium will host a Champions League Final watch Party at 2:45 on the Jumbotron and in the Three Lions Pub, before the Charleston Fleet play the first game of their inaugural season at 4PM. The Battery will then take on Louisville City at 7PM. As part of their “’93 Night” tickets will be $9.30, and a ticket will get you into all three events. The match will also be streamed on the club’s website and YouTube.





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.




Two Floridian teams vie for crack at the Battery in the Cup

Now in its 103rd year, the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup has pitted two Florida teams against each other in the first round of the tournament. The winner gets the chance to travel to Charleston for a May 18th clash against the Battery.

The two teams are The Villages SC of the PDL, and Kraze United from the PDL.

The Battery’s best run in the Cup came in 2008 when the Battery made the final of the oldest US Cup competition, losing unluckily to DC United, but the Black and Yellow have been known as giant killers in the past.

The club has a number of high-profile wins against MLS clubs, of course having to knock off a few in the 2008 run, but whether in friendly tournaments such as the Carolina Challenge Cup or in cup competition, the Battery have always been a threat to America’s top teams. They must hope that that trend continues this year.