The Battery players boarded a bus today for the six hour trip down the I-95 to Orlando. Likewise, a couple dozen Battery supporters are going through their pre-trip checklist; Jersey-check, scarf-check, lucky pants-check (no joke one supporter has lucky pants!)
As the Battery head into Friday night’s semi final match, they are well aware of the task ahead of them, not many teams have won in the Citrus Bowl. They are also confident they can get the job done.
During a interview with the pod cast Off the Bench with Luke Lohr and Pedro Gomez, Nicki Paterson had this to say,
“I feel there’s a bit of confidence there, at the fact that we’ve actually done it before. It seems very similar, this year to last year, which is great for us, because we finished third in the table, we on our home (playoff game) 2-1, which we did last year, we go on the road in the semi-final, which we won last year in Rochester, and then we wound up hosting the final, which we could wind up doing again if Charlotte beats Richmond, which that’s not going to be an easy one for Richmond Either. I wouldn’t say the stars have aligned similar to last year, but it got a very similar feeling to it. So we’re very confident.”
It is also something Dan Conover touches on in his preview of the Battery side heading to Orlando on his CHSSoccer.net site.
The Charleston/Orlando City series this year has been close, a 1-1 draw at home and a 2-1 loss for the Battery in Orlando. But the players and coach both think that they could have won those matches, Charleston outshot the Lions in both matches, and Orlando was awarded a dubious penalty late in the away match while Charleston felt they should have had one of their own.
Charleston has recently shuffled its line up putting Jose Cuevas centrally to play behind Jamaican forward and team leading scorer, Dane Kelly. That has put Nicki Paterson out wide to deliver his accurate balls into the box. Quinton Griffith speed on the wings gave Orlando trouble during both matches. The Battery backline has solidified as the season progressed as Colin Falvey, Cody Ellison John Wilson and Emmanuel Adjetey became a well oiled machine. Wilson and Adjetey bring a lot to the offense as well attacking down the wings while Colin Falvey has three goals of his own this season.
Orlando has had to deal with a rotating starting line-up due to loaned players and injuries but they are a deep and well coach squad. Plus they will be looking to prove to be a future MLS expansion side not to mention wanting to prove they are the top team in USLPRO.
One thing is for certain, it should be a great match up. It’s win or go home and something tells me neither of these teams are looking to go home anytime soon.
Battery players to watch:
Dane Kelly- with 12 goals so far, he has found a knack for putting the ball in the back of the net.
Mike Azira – the quite midfielder has been showing his worth with assist and goals of his own this season.
Colin Falvey –he is pumped, expect an early hard tackle to set the tone of the match. Watch for him during Battery corners.