In the end, it came down to a corner kick in the 9th minute on “Field No. 1″ at the Reach 11 Soccer Complex in Phoenix Arizona.
We watched it on the sputtering feed there at Molly Darcy’s. And. It. Looked. Like. This. Until. It. Froze.
So no one in Molly Darcy’s could tell who scored. But it was obvious someone did.
And there was much rejoicing.
Even after the fact, who scored the winning goal Saturday night remained not entirely clear. USL PRO’s official stat sheet says Phoenix forward Darren Mackie put the ball past his keeper. But here’s the Charleston Battery’s account:
The goal came after Nicki Paterson whipped a corner to the back-post. defender Taylor Mueller headed the ball back across the face and after a scramble in front of goal (Phoenix defender Devin) Grousis’ attempted clearance flew under the crossbar.
But let’s be blunt. I don’t think anyone watched the stream from Phoenix cared. What mattered was that the Battery men, who had fallen into the pattern of winning at home and losing on the road, took an early lead in a must-win game against a down-table opponent. And from there on out, the Black and Gold throttled Phoenix down to two shots and left the desert with the ugliest, most beautiful three points of 2013.
The win not only kept Charleston in 4th place, with an inside track on a home playoff game, it also clinched a playoff berth for the 2012 USL PRO Champions. The team needs only to beat winless Antigua Barracuda on Thursday in Charleston to close out the regular season on a high note.
As for the game, Regiment member Scott Johnstone put it best when he described the play as looking like both teams were operating at about 85 percent capacity — a logical accommodation, given the 104+ degree heat in the desert. Charleston looked to control the match from the outset, and after taking the lead, seemed to hold the Wolves at arms’ length for the rest of the game.
Game wrap Sunday.