The Week That Was
Saturday's match against FC Montreal was a very exciting match despite zero goals being scored between the two clubs. The action came in different ways at newly minted MUSC Health Stadium in Charleston (Read The Stadium Formerly Known as Blackbaud below). First, the game ball was delivered by helicopter, so that's something you don't see every day. Then, each club nearly found the back of the net which provided some buzz: FC Montreal nearly finding the net on a set piece, followed by a well saved Justin Portillo PK. Most of the other scoring chances were shots that either went comfortably high over the net or were directly at either keeper. The most noteworthy moments in the match involved tempers flaring. In the 41st minute, FC Montreal's Charles Joly tried to play a quick free kick, but Shawn Ferguson interfered with that plan, angering Joly. Joly proceeded to hip check Ferguson, causing a bit of a skirmish between the clubs. As Ricky Garbanzo approached Joly, he was met with a forceful two handed shove to the face/throat area. The end result was an immediate red for Joly and yellows to both Garbanzo, who will be out for the next match due to accumulation, and Ferguson. Following that, Battery skipper Mike Anhaeuser and Montreal manager Phillippe Eullaffroy exchanged what I can only assume were less than kind words. Eullaffroy also shared a heated exchange with some of the Charleston faithful in the crowd. So the final result was a 0-0 draw which was very frustrating for a slumping Battery club who played nearly 50 minutes with a man advantage.
The Stadium Formerly Known As Blackbaud
Since 1999, the Charleston Battery have played their home matches at Blackbaud Stadium. That was until Saturday's match when the club debuted their stadium's new name: MUSC Health Stadium. The Battery and the Medical University of South Carolina agreed on a 5 year deal worth a reported $925,000 for the naming rights. MUSC has been providing the club medical services since 2008. Both parties are excited about extending their partnership and MUSC, being very highly regarded, handles the treatments of our very own Battery future star Joey Benton.
The Good Guys: Charleston Battery (9-4-8)
As the draws nearly match the win total, it has certainly been a downturn for the Battery as of late. At times, it's been a lack of continuity with no rhythm between the units on the pitch. Other times, it's purely been execution; shots flying well over the net or hesitation leading to less prime chances. Either way, it needs to turn around. With seven regular season matches left, the Battery need to get back into the win column. Not only to help secure their playoff position, but also to potentially build some type of momentum heading into the postseason. The only representative on the USL's Team of the Week was Shawn Ferguson and while the club did play well defensively, I'd like to think he made the list in part due to angering Charles Joly into earning a red card. Without Garbanzo next match due to a yellow, the club will need contributions from a reserve that will start in his place, possibly Houston Dynamo loanee Memo Rodriguez.
The Hired Gun
Speaking of Memo, he made a big impact on the MLS's Homegrown Game against Club America's U-20 club. Proudly representing his Houston Dynamo, Rodriguez stole the ball at midfield, found San Jose Earthquakes striker Tommy Thompson for a long distance blast to put the MLS up 1-0. Being that last year's inaugural match ended 0-0, Memo dished out the first ever assist in the MLS Homegrown Game. Shortly after that, Memo controlled an MLS corner and fired a lovely bending shot towards the net, forcing Club America's goalkeeper into a diving save. The match ended 1-1 in regulation, with Club America spoiling Landon Donovan's coaching debut by winning on PK's 5-4.