Auf Wiedersehen, Herr Nicht

Auf Wiedersehen, Herr Nicht

Editor’s note: Site issues prevented me from posting this Sunday night, and with family in town for a visit, I wasn’t able to get to it this morning. My apologies for the delay. Weekend game wrap to follow… dc

Ralph-Lundy-soccer-sponsorship-message2Charleston passed the midway point of its 2013 season with a 1-1 away draw at Rochester, courtesy of point-blank goals by both squads and another outstanding turn by the opposing keeper.

Rochester opened the scoring off a corner kick in the 28th minute, when Charleston Battery goalkeeper Kevin Klasila appeared to lose his footing at the near post. With Klasila on his knees, Rhinos midfielder Lance Rozeboom managed to redirect Danny Earls‘ corner awkwardly into goal, bouncing it up into the crossbar and back down across the line.

Charleston would equalize in the 47th minute when center back Shawn Ferguson, making his first start in USL PRO (second start overall), banged home a nicely headed pass by Amadou Sanyang. It was Ferguson’s first professional goal and Sanyang’s first assist of 2013.

The match ended the clubs’ season series with home and away draws, and in both cases much of the credit for Rochester’s relative success went to veteran Rhinos goalkeeper Kristian Nicht,  who conceded one goal with five saves on eight shots. The most noteworthy of the night came in the 81st minute, when the big German tipped Charleston midfielder Bryce Alderson‘s shot over the crossbar. The save not only denied Charleston a game-winning goal, but prevented Jarad van Schaik from receiving a well-earned assist for his brilliant dribbling attack and pass.

Charleston, playing on less than 24 hours rest at the end of a three-game road trip, started the match in a nominal 4-4-2 formation that featured one of the most unusual lineups of their 2013 season. Other than Klasila and Ferguson, other notable changes included Austin Savage at forward (first USL PRO start, second overall) , Maikel Chang in midfield (second professional start) and Sanyang (sixth start this season).  Midfielder Quinton Griffith, who made a brief appearance Saturday night, played his first complete game since May 3.

Left back John Wilson returned to the lineup, but Coach Mike Anhaeuser also started Emmanuel Adjetey, Wilson’s typical left-back replacement. Adjetey joined Colin Falvey in the distinction of being the two Battery players to start and finish both the Saturday night and Sunday afternoon games. Though listed as a defender, Adjetey appeared spend much of the match further up the pitch, giving Charleston what looked to me to be more of a 3-5-2 look in the first half. Although, to be transparent about it, it wasn’t always easy to see Charleston’s shape on the live stream from Rochester.

In addition to Alderson, usual starters van Schaik, Nicki Paterson and Jose Cuevas all made significant contributions as late substitutes. But Nicht managed to preserve the draw with multiple heads-up plays, not all of which were recorded as saves.

In fact, if there’s one story line to the two Charleston-vs.-Rochester draws this year, it’s probably this: But for spectacular plays by Nicht on May 3rd, Charleston almost certainly wins 3-0. But for his 81st minute save on Alderson’s shot this Sunday, Charleston wins 2-1. There are few situations in team sports where you can blame a single player for an outcome, but is it fair to credit one keeper’s individual efforts for changing the result? I think so. Charleston played well enough to win both meetings this season, but Nicht turned six points into two.

And so we bid farewell to Herr Nicht, with the sincere hope that this will be the last time we’ll face him in 2013. So long, farewell, auf weidersehen, goodbye: We hope that you get on a plane and fly…

Weekend game wrap coming up next…

1 Comment

  1. Dast ist gut, Herr Conover!