The Week That Was
It went from a potential first place tying weekend, to a drop to third weekend for Charleston. Both matches last week ended with a 1-0 count, neither in favor of the Battery. Due to travel restrictions, it was a shorthanded unit that faced Toronto FC II on Friday. It was a scoreless match until late, large part due to 8 quality saves from TFC2 keeper Quillan Roberts, but in the 89th minute, the anemic offense of TFC found the net off a set piece to steal a late victory at home. Losing is never fun in sports, but losing late always seems to hurt much more. The Charleston offense that tested TFC2 frequently on Friday did not get the memo to join the club at Rochester on Sunday. In fairness, the Rochester defense was the main reason, but still the Battery offense had no punch. The Rhinos scored a goal in the 10th minute, on a cheeky finish from Steevan Dos Santos. The Rhino offense surprisingly did attempt more shots, but no more found the net. The Rhinos as usual were physical and swarming on the defensive end to shutout yet another victim. This was the first losing streak of 2015 for Charleston.
The Good Guys: Charleston Battery (9-4-7)
After two less than satisfying performances, the Battery went unrepresented on the USL's Team of the Week. A season of steady positioning in second place in the standings ended Sunday as Louisville FC overtook Charleston for that spot. Odisnel Cooper returned in net against Rochester after sitting out the TFC2 match due to travel restrictions. He was one of very few bright spots on Sunday, as he kept the deficit at 1-0 with a handful of strong saves. Dane Kelly now leads the USL in shots with 63 in 18 games.
The Bad Guys: FC Montreal (4-12-2)
Unfortunately for FC Montreal, Didier Drogba will not be appearing for the USL side of his new home with the Montreal Impact. Also unfortunate for FC Montreal, they are in second to last in the Eastern Conference. Alessandro Riggi leads the club in points with 11. In their only previous matchup, Montreal took the match with a 1-0 victory north of the border.
The Dirty Details
Saturday August 1st 7:30 pm at Blackbaud Stadium.
Watch it live on the Charleston Battery YouTube Channel.
The Hired Gun
Our very own Memo Rodriguez got the start in the 2nd annual Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game. It was a match-up of the top MLS Homegrown players, coached by the beloved Landon Donovan, against Mexican powerhouse Club America's U-20 squad. I was able to chat with Memo before the game and he was very excited and honored by the opportunity. In his time with Charleston, he has been a great addition to an already talented midfield and we will see if next year his talents will be in Houston, or if the Memo & Carson tandem will carry on to the newly formed RGVFC.
The Reggae Boyz
Leading up to and following their Gold Cup elimination of the USMNT, Jamaica was an easy team to root for; they were a fun-loving, underdog club that took the 2015 Gold Cup by storm. It was especially easy for our Charleston Jamaican players to be excited by their home nation's improbable success. I got to chat with "Cool Runnings" Dane Kelly, O'Brian Woodbine and Navion Boyd a bit about their beautiful home country. Each player was very proud of their country's success while they were equally excited about the opportunity to someday contribute to their nation's club. As well as being the club's Reggae Boyz contingent, they also are three of the fastest players on the club. When I proposed the idea of a race between the three end line to end line, I got three very different answers. Boyd was confident he'd be the victor, Kelly predicted he'd finish in last and Woodbine was political in his response saying he would have to experience the race before picking a winner. In addition to the popular Jamaican dish jerk chicken, I was told goat head, goat soup and curry chicken with rice and peas are some favorite meals.