The Cup Wrap-Up
The 2015 Carolina Challenge Cup was one for the ages at Blackbaud Stadium. Ticket sales were at an all-time high, as was the number of credentialed media members. 2015 also marked the first time the Battery led their own tournament at any point, as they entered Night 3 with the lead before falling to a still respectable third place finish. Most importantly, the team came away with great experience against their 3 MLS opponents in the tournament and walked away relatively healthy.
The Lightning Goal
As I said the Battery were in position to finish atop the standings after Night 2, and they have a legendary goal to thank for putting them there. As the weather worsened on Night 2 at the Baud, Orlando City SC led the Battery 1-0. But in the 25th minute, before actual lightning struck, soccer lightning struck! A great pass to Dane Kelly led Charleston on a break; he swung the ball out to Prince, who chipped in a great cross to Marini. Unfortunately, Marini couldn't handle the lob right in front of the goal, as he attempted a bicycle kick. Fortunately however, Navion Boyd was in the right place at the right time, unmarked to thunder home a goal, just moments before the match was called due to lightning which officially scored a draw. A great edit video of the goal is available to watch here! This is one moment certainly worthy of the esteem it will carry for years amongst Battery supporters.
The Dynamo Drop-Ins
We may have got a first peek at who might be up for loan to Charleston from the Houston Dynamo via their MLS-USL affiliation for the 2015 campaign. Rookies Taylor Hunter and Oumar Ballo, homegrown product Memo Rodriguez, and reserve goalkeeper Michael Lisch. All four players joined the Battery in training and also on the pitch in the second half of the final game on Saturday night. While no formal announcement has been made and the players have not been at training in Charleston this week, it's not crazy to assume these might be the loanees. I figured Memo was almost a certainty to be in that loanee group in 2015 and Lisch is the third man at the GK depth chart in Houston. My thoughts were Ballo might challenge for minutes in the back line in H-Town but it may be beneficial for him and Hunter to get their professional soccer developing underway with more minutes in a less pressure packed situation in Charleston. We will see if an announcement comes soon and if/when it does, you'll find it here on Dynamo Theory!
The Preseason Friendlies Fun
Today, the Chanticleers of Coastal Carolina University will take on Charleston at 7 PM at Blackbaud Stadium. That game's admission is free of charge for those interested in attending. Following that, the Battery will be training on Thursday and Friday before traveling to Jacksonville to try and sink the Armada again. Charleston previously defeated the NASL's Jacksonville club 1-0 on a goal by Austin Savage earlier this preseason. Both games may be available to be streamed online but no official decision has been made yet, we'll update you as soon as we know!
The Weekly Anticipation
Look forward to next Wednesday's Charleston Charge where I will catch you up on the preseason action, loanee news, and possibly a player Q&A. Follow the Battery on Twitter @Chas_Battery for match updates.