Charleston Battery (3W-5L-4D) sought what so far has seemed impossible during the 2014 United Soccer Leagues Professional Division (USL Pro) season, and that is defeating Orlando City (9W-0L-3D). The Battery put up a valiant effort but fell just short, 2-0 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
In front of 4,987 USL Pro fans, Charleston looked dangerous before Orlando scored first. Former Vancouver Whitecaps FC striker Corey Hertzog managed to finish a corner kick with a header past Charleston goalkeeper Odisnel Cooper. The second goal of the night was provided by Trinidadian midfielder Kevin Molino.
Despite the defeat, a pair of Whitecaps FC loanees continued to progress. Mamadou Diouf and Andre Lewis both started the match. Diouf had a tempting chance in the 54th minute as he arrived into rival territory, sending a sliding shot aimed at Orlando's net, but it hit the post and stayed out. Ten minutes after Diouf’s attempt, Lewis foresaw an opportunity to assist Diouf with great teamwork in the 64th minute, but the Senegalese striker directed a powerful header over the net.
“In the first and second half, both players were able to create dangerous chances and we were unlucky not to capitalize on the opportunities created” specified Charleston assistant coach Troy Lesesne to whitecapsfc.com. “Mamadou played up high as our target striker, while Andre played underneath him in an attacking midfield position”.
Similarly, Whitecaps FC 2014 MLS SuperDraft pick Adam Mena’s solid game did not fall under the radar, as he entered the game as a substitute, but was not left out from the action. “Mena was able to make some good runs in behind their defence. One run in particular opened up a half volley for himself, but he was unable to convert the chance into a goal,” noted Lesesne.
At the end, Orlando City stands on impenetrable grounds, adding up one more triumphant encounter to their record as they keep an eye towards MLS in 2015. But the Battery showed well, and in particular the 'Caps young prospects proved that they can compete at a high level.
Charleston assistant coach Troy Lesesne concluded, “Players showed a lot of promise on the night and we hope they continue to build off of this type of performance.”
Charleston next play at home against LA Galaxy II, scheduled for Saturday, June 14 at 7:30 p.m. at Blackbaud Stadium.