Charleston lacked the outfield players to run its usual 9-v-9 short-field scrimmage on Tuesday after the ax fell on three trialists just before the arrival of the first contingent of 2014 Vancouver loanees.
Gone from Saturday night’s match were essentially all the players who didn’t take the field against Seattle: Goalkeeper Will Dieterich, LB Chris Banner, and midfielder Luciano Delbono. All three players had good performances in camp, but the available number of slots on the Battery roster makes for tough competition.
Also missing from training on Tuesday was Nurdin Hrustic, the big centerback who started the second half against Seattle. Battery Coach Mike Anhaeuser called him “a funny situation,” due to him having a regular job in Jacksonville, Fla., and didn’t rule out a possible return.
Dean Kelly, forward Dane Kelly‘s twin, did not train with the team on Tuesday, but remains in town and is considered more of a training camp player at the moment. The same holds true for keeper Justin Baarts, a Portland Timbers U-23 player and friend of Battery midfielder Jarad van Schaik, who remains with the team but is not considered to be in the running for a roster spot.
The non-goalkeeper trialists remaining with the team on Tuesday were defender Drew Ruggles and midfielders Dante Marini and Miguel Teos.
Anhaeuser also confirmed the names of the two Whitecaps players that Vancouver leaked in the middle of its own press release Friday about the travel roster for a preseason tournament in Portland. Whitecaps Jackson Farmer, an 18-year-old centerback and member of the club’s residency program, and Hondouran midfielder Marlon Ramirez (age unknown) are scheduled to arrive in Charleston tonight.
These are the only two players that Charleston will receive from their new MLS partner before Wednesday’s match with D.C. United. Neither is listed on the Caps’ MLS roster. It’s unlikely they’ll play tomorrow, but the Battery aren’t ruling it out entirely.
“They haven’t’ been here, but they’ll probably be available,” Anhaeuser said. “They’ve been training. They’re fit. They’ve been cleared. But I don’t know if I’ll throw them in tomorrow, because it’s not like they’re senior pros.”
A third Whitecap — 2013 loanee Emmanuel Adjetey — remains an international man of mystery. The Battery were confident enough that Adjetey would be in black and gold stripes for Saturday’s CCC opener that the team listed him in the gameday program. But some holdup in British Columbia cast him into limbo.
Though he was the least-touted of the three young players who competed for Charleston on loan from the Canadian club in 2013, the 24-year-old Adjetey was by far the most productive. Anhaeuser appears to have some interest in acquiring him again, but the details are not public.
“That’s really in Vancouver’s hands,” Anhaeuser said. “He’s their player, he’s not here, and until they come… and we’ll just have to wait and see, because he’s an international.”
Those are the only Whitecaps in the pipeline at the moment, but Anhaeuser said the Canadians’ technical staff could make some decisions about the 2014 MLS roster after playing Wednesday night in Portland. That could mean more Caps arriving in Charleston around week’s end.
That said, keep in mind that Vancouver originally told the Battery they would send players south in time for the start of Battery camp last Tuesday.
So, you see that picture at the top of this post? That’s second-year Battery attacking midfielder Maikel Chang, just returned from indoor duty in Wichita, cutting upfield during today’s scrimmage.
Here it is again.
And here’s what’s remarkable about this photo. In the next frame, Chang cut to his right, got around Falvey for just a moment, and buried his shot to the far post. He’s surrounded by defenders (in fairness, that’s Battery staffer Joey Gorman filling in on defense between Colin Falvey and Zach Prince), and somehow, after squeezing through two previous tight spots to get to this point, he managed to emerge from this with the ball still at his feet and score.
Not getting my hopes up too much. But that’s the kind of skill that followers of Cuban soccer have been raving about ever since Chang arrived with Odisnel Cooper and Heviel Cordoves in February 2013. Cordoves scored for the other side Tuesday in a play where he stripped the ball from Amadou Sanyang, turned upfield for a step or two, and struck from from distance.
And staying on the subject of Cubans, Cooper jogged on the sidelines today without the cast he’d been wearing on his right hand (he sprained his thumb several weeks ago), and his friend and fellow Cuban international Andy Ramos got the first start of the CCC and played on the “old” side in today’s old-v-young scrimmage.
There’s probably only room for one backup keeper on the Battery roster, and former California-Bakersfield netminder Eric Shannon isn’t giving Ramos much breathing room. Though he lacks Ramos’ impressive wingspan, Shannon continues to look like a viable option.
To get to enough players to scrimmage Tuesday, Anhaeuser sent in Gorman, and had Austin Savage play offense for both sides.