The Week That Was
Amidst a season of tightly contested matches, especially this month, a comfortable victory was exactly what the doctor order for Charleston against Harrisburg. It didn't even take long for the advantage to go in favor of the Battery as striker Dane Kelly netted a goal in a mere two minutes. After "Cool Runnings" found the net early, it held at 1-0 until the 39th minute when Taylor Mueller redirected a free kick in to put Charleston up 2-0. Kelly added a goal of the week candidate in the 62nd minute when he blasted a shot off his left foot past Islanders GK Nick Noble. Ricky Garbanzo closed out Charleston's scoring with an easy tap in after Maikel Chang banged one off the post. Harrisburg ruined the clean sheet late with a PK after a yellow to Quinton Griffith.
The Good Guys: Charleston Battery (7-2-6)
The club was represented by Cool Runnings, Dane Kelly, on the USL's Team of the Week and on the reserves by Taylor Mueller. Both players scored and were big contributors to their strong victory this Saturday. Ricky Garbanzo netted another goal, largely based on his hustle and soccer IQ. Garbanzo and I laughed as we agreed his plan will just remain for Kelly and others to fire long distance strikes and he'll be around to tap them in if they come off. Heviel Cordoves injured his ankle late in the match and is awaiting results. When I spoke to him yesterday, he commented that he is very happy to receive all the love and support from Battery fans. Kevin Corby got his first win of the year in net, and if not for a late PK, would have been a clean sheet. He played very well in place of Odisnel Cooper, who was nursing an injured shoulder. The victims of the Charleston terror attack were honored pre-match with moments of silence. The club also collected donations during the match for the Mother Emanuel Church, which the Battery will match.
The Bad Guys: Rochester Rhinos (9-0-5)
The only undefeated club in the USL visits Blackbaud Stadium Friday. The undefeated Rhinos are led by Christian Volesky, their leader in goals, as well as keeper Brandon Miller, who has 6 clean sheets in 9 starts. Defense is their biggest strength as a whole, as they have only allowed FIVE goals all season! Away from home is where all the draws have come for Rochester, so if they are vunerable anyway in this great campaign, it's on the road. This will be a HUGE Eastern Conference showdown between #1 and #2!
The Dirty Details:
Friday July 3rd. 7:30 pm.
Watch it live HERE
The Hired Gun
Memo Rodriguez, the Houston Dynamo homegrown product and loanee, came on for his usual late substitution in the midfield. He did not record any stats.
The Cool Runnings Part II
As I mentioned in a previous article, Dane Kelly, "Cool Runnings" is pretty darn good. The same as then, he leads the club in goals and is truly one of the toughest matchups in the USL. Kelly should move up to the MLS because it's unfair. I mean that. I'm not going to tell you Dane has the best touch on the ball, or the most accurate strikes, but both of those are well above average. Add those to the freakish athleticism he possesses, and you have one amazing striker. Throughout matches, you'll see midfielders just lob the ball ahead and roll it way past the Jamaican forward, knowing very well that he will likely catch up to it and likely fire one into the back of the net. He's talented with either foot and is very humble and hardworking. Our conversations range from jerk chicken to prospects of the MLS, always respectful and engaging. I implored MLS teams to take a long look at him, and I would encourage them again to do the same. (Even a certain orange clad team that I love very very much, but is lacking in the goal scoring department)