The Riverhounds Recap
In a game that started soggy, both teams exchanged long throughs via the air and ground to try and strike first blood. Each team down a starter, Pittsburgh without star Rob Vincent, Charleston down speedy Quinton Griffith. Also, after an early hamstring injury to Heviel Cordoves, star Dane Kelly checked in earlier than expected. A few near misses by each club, good goalkeeping from both keepers, and the soggy pitch all attributed to the halftime score reading 0-0. After a somewhat impressive double knockdown of Riverhound players by Navion Boyd, Pittsburgh's free kick found Kevin Kerr at the back post for a strong header that despite getting a hand on it, could not be stopped by Odisnel Cooper. A couple close calls from Kelly and company could not level the score as the second half went on. Finally, a ricochet found the foot of Ricky Garbanzo who put a blast towards the goal in the 93rd minute. The shot was redirected wonderfully by a back tap from Maikel Chang to steal a late draw in the Steel City, disappointing a packed Highmark Stadium.
The Good Guys: Charleston Battery (10-6-10)
I don't want to jinx it, but reinforcements may be on the way for Charleston. Both players, Sebastien Thuriere and Quinton Griffith, who were on international call up duty are expected to be back for Saturday's tilt against Louisville. Also returning will be Obi Woodbine, finally back in condition after an injury kept him out of the lineup for weeks. In other injury recovery news, Austin Savage is back to jogging after a serious ankle sprain knocked him out of action. After his cheeky late equalizer, Maikel Chang was named to the USL Team Of The Week. He provided much of the action for the Battery side, including that lone goal in stoppage time.
The Bad Guys: Louisville City FC (14-6-6)
They have Matt Fondy...so there's that. The single season record holder for goals added his 22nd of the season last week in Lou City's 3-2 loss to New York Red Bulls II. With a six point lead for 2nd place in the standings, Charleston can hope that Louisville rests some key players in the second to last game. In their matchup two weeks back, Louisville City FC was victorious 3-1.
The Dirty Details
9/12 at 7:30pm MUSC Health Stadium
Watch it live HERE
The Hired Gun
Houston Dynamo loanee Memo Rodriguez did not play in Saturday's match at Pittsburgh, but he was excited and ready for an opportunity if called upon when I spoke to him pregame.
The Improbable Encounter
As some of you know, I am an Akron, Ohio native who now resides in Las Vegas. I flew home for the Labor Day weekend surprising my family and friends. Super awesome, but what does it have to do with soccer you ask? For the first time in the 2015 season, I got to see my Charleston Battery play in person. Though I watch every match in its entirety at least once on the Battery YouTube channel, I had to take the opportunity to travel a mere two hours to Pittsburgh to watch my boys in person. After chatting with the USL's top trainer, Bobby Weisenberger, I was able to chat with some of the players I had previously only talked with over texting or social media. It seemed to be equally exciting for myself and the players, as I got a hug and a post-game picture from "Cool Runnings" Dane Kelly , a handshake from my likely RGVFC partner in crime Memo Rodriguez and a good chat with Ricky Garbanzo. I had a blast being one of the few fans in a packed Highmark Stadium cheering for Charleston as they forced the late draw. This trip, aside from being very exciting, also confirmed what I pretty much already knew: The Charleston Battery are a classy organization from top to bottom and a club I'm proud to represent and cover on a weekly basis.