The Week That Was: Off The Pitch
Some things are much bigger than soccer. I know, crazy to hear from a soccer writer, but it's true. I wasn't sure how to address the situation, though I knew it needed to be addressed. While I'm thousands of miles away in Las Vegas, my heart was heavy last week for one of my adopted cities, Charleston, South Carolina. I will not give the terrorist the satisfaction of including his name or the horrific crimes he committed, but I will proudly stand with my city that has shown what love can overcome. There were no riots, no outbreak of violence in response to the attack, but there was love. There was love for the victims who lost their lives, there was love for one another, and there was love for the city of Charleston. Moments of silence, rival teams with signs supporting Charleston or holding up Battery scarves, were all powerful signs of love that were much needed in a difficult week. Keep the victims, the loved ones of the victims and the city of Charleston in your thoughts as we move forward, stronger and more united than ever. STAND WITH CHARLESTON.
The Week That Was: On The Pitch
Throughout the craziness off the pitch, there were two matches last week! The first being a US Open Cup showdown with the Kaka-less Orlando City SC. In a match that saw a scoreless draw through 57 minutes, the action followed quickly after. After the next 10 minutes passed, the score was now 2-1 in favor of the Battery. Then much to the chagrin of OCSC supporters in attendance, the Lions would score the next 3 goals via PK. The first sent it to extra time, the next two gave them a 4-2 lead. Then an absolute rocket off the foot of Justin Portillo, followed by a late PK from Portillo as well put the score at 4-4 and sent the game to PKs. OCSC took the match by a 8-7 advantage in penalties and advanced in the USOC. Battery fans should be proud of their club, as they outshot, outcornered and in essence outworked Orlando City. The big advantage for OCSC was the penalty kicks awarded and that was too much for Charleston to overcome.
In their league match against Charlotte on Saturday, both teams utilized their depth, including another start for reserve GK Kevin Corby. Charlotte went up 1-0, followed by an equalizer by the Battery on the incredibly rare direct corner kick goal as all the parties in front of the net, missed putting a body on the ball. The Independence stole the 3 points with a late goal scored in a 1-1 situation between Tomasz Zahorski and Kevin Corby. Advantage Zahorski and that was all she wrote from the Ramblewood Soccer Complex.
The Good Guys: Charleston Battery (6-2-6)
The Battery now find themselves in third place in the Eastern Conference, but are only one point behind Richmond. Sebastien Thuriere heads off to camp with Haiti for the upcoming Gold Cup. He has started previously for the Haitians at defensive mid. Quinton Griffith made his triumphant return to the pitch against Charlotte, starting in place of Maikel Chang. No players made the cut for the USL Team Of The Week. The club has decided to graciously match all donations gathered for the Emanuel AME Hope Fund during the match this Saturday,
The Bad Guys: Harrisburg City Islanders (4-3-4)
Harrisburg is currently battling for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. This past week, mid Yann Ekra was named to the ToTW following a near victory over undefeated Rochester. In the only previous matchup between the clubs earlier this season, it was Charleston emerging victorious with a 2-0 victory at home.
The Dirty Details:
at Blackbaud Stadium. 7:30 pm Saturday June 27th
Watch it live HERE
The Hired Gun
Memo Rodriguez, the only Houston Dynamo loanee, got the start against Charlotte, providing his usual pressure and passing the midfield. As the season drags on, expect Memo to get more starts or longer sub shifts as players grow more fatigued.