Charleston Battery News Release - www.charlestonbattery.com
Friday, August 29, 2008
CHARLESTON, SC -- The Charleston Battery held the Puerto Rico Islanders to a scoreless tie Friday night in front of 5,067 fans at Blackbaud Stadium and a television audience nationwide.
The game was televised live on Fox Soccer Channel and was the Battery's second-to-last home game this season. It was also Charleston's last matchup before the club travels to Washington, D.C., to take on MLS side D.C United in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Wednesday.
The tie moves the Islanders (13-6-6, 45 points) back to first place, while the Battery (10-9-7, 37 points) remains in third. The Islanders take the season series 2-1-0.
"I'm very pleased with the way we played defensively against a team that just launches it and puts you under pressure," Battery head coach Mike Anhaeuser said. "They had one good chance there at the end but we had a couple to score at our end, and when two good teams play that's what it is."
Despite the attention of a national audience, the Islanders had elected to rest most their first team for the match and started just three players featured in last Friday's win over the Battery in Puerto Rico. And with a top-of-the-table clash against the Vancouver Whitecaps and a CONCACAF Champions league fixture with Costa Rica's LD Alajuelense in the coming days, the unfamiliar lineup was perhaps not surprising.
However, the Battery-which is chasing Puerto Rico for the league's first place-was at near-full strength despite its Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final on Wednesday, welcoming defender Kevin Nylen and goalkeeper Dusty Hudock back into the starting 11.
And it would be the Battery that threatened first when Mike Richardson beat his defender before burying his effort into the Puerto Rico goalkeeper, and minutes later Darren Spicer fired off a warning shot that took a deflection just outside the box.
Spicer then had one of the half's best goalscoring chances when he delivered a curling strike, but Islanders' goalkeeper Mike Behonick did well to paw the effort around the post. Defender Nylen, back on duty following an absence due to a concussion, also flashed a good attempt wide.
Back at the other end Hudock was forced to mop up some slow defending that allowed Kendall Jagdeosingh a scrappy look on goal, and the Battery stopper had to punch clear a few dangerous crosses that dropped his way.
Jagdeosingh then ran onto a clever through-ball from the midfield but fired wide, and in the last chance of the period Johnny Steele fired a long-range shot that Hudock parried away for a corner.
But though the Battery would go into the break having out-shot their visitors 6-5, the Islanders looked most menacing early in the second half as they sought to break the tie.
Edson Elcock found space on the right flank and fired a pass across the face of the goal. Sandy Gbandy was able to make contact, but his effort bounced off the post and out.
The Battery responded by bringing on club leading scorer Randi Patterson for Spicer, and the switch almost paid off when Patterson's shot was deflected barely a foot wide. Osvaldo Alsonso also tossed in a couple of dangerous set-pieces, yet the Islanders coped well and absorbed the pressure.
And the hosts looked like they might have stole the win in the final minutes when Marco Reda rose in traffic to meet Alonso's free-kick, but Behonick was placed well to grasp the header, while David Kenga shot just high of the frame from 25 yards.
"Going into Wednesday you have to be pleased," Anhaeuser said. "We're disappointed we didn't get three points, but tonight we were solid defensively and we know we've got to play that way Wednesday."
Anhaeuser added that while goalkeeper Hudock took a nose-crunching knock to the face in the second half and Ian Fuller has struggled with a leg strain, his side looks fit going into Wednesday's game, which will also be televised nationally on Fox Soccer Channel.