BY JOHN ACE
Dane Kelly and Jose Cuevas had breakout performances, each scoring once, Cuevas providing two assists as the Battery held firm and came out 3-2 winners against the Orange County Blues.
The Battery now, at least for a little while, hold a playoff spot, after previously looking down and out of the race.
There were two changes team who lined up on Friday in the draw against Dayton, Colin Falvey recovered from a leg injury that kept him on the sidelines, while Amadou Sanyang also returned following a lengthy injury.
The Battery were on the offensive straight away, earning a corner after just 50 seconds that was headed just wide.
Kelly opened the scoring in the 17th minute, finishing off a great team play move that started with right back Emanuel Adjetey, who found Jarad Van Schaik, whose subsequent cross went across the face of goal and barely found the onrushing Quinton Griffith, who pulled the ball back for Jose Cuevas, who headed down for Kelly, who was ghosting in back post for the tap in.
It was another great set up for the Battery, who’ve really been helped by the inclusion of Jose Cuevas. He made his presence felt in this play after making that late connecting run, which was one of the things the team had been missing earlier in the season.
Dane Kelly could’ve had a penalty on 22 minutes, after a through ball left him in a foot race with both central defenders, and he made his way into the box before being barged down with an elbow from one of the last men, though nothing was given.
The Battery then had a good chance shortly after from a free kick from midfield, which needed just a little bit more air under it, or would’ve avoided the OC defense and fallen on a Battery head, but instead was cleared away.
But ten minutes from half time, the home side would extend their lead. Dane Kelly worked space to get a shot away, and a defender who was standing off his man dived in to block the shot, but ended up handling the ball, and this time, the referee pointed to the spot.
Jose Cuevas would step up, making no mistake as he blasted the shot into the top left corner to give the Battery some insurance.
And it was a good thing too, as the Blues would cut into the lead with time running out in the first half.
A ball was played long over the defense, and no one took charge enough to stay with his marker as Alex Martinez broke free and slotted the ball past the onrushing Odisnel Cooper in goal.
So, thanks to that breakdown in communication, the Battery only went in to halftime with a one goal lead, with Orange County probably hoping they could sneak one as the match went on.
There was a half time substitution in the form of Taylor Meuller coming on to replace Adjetey, which made sense, considering that the Battery still have another game this week, and that they wanted more strength in defense to handle the pure size of the OC attack.
But the away side started better at the beginning of the second half, putting together some nice play just five minutes in, but their attacker couldn’t hold his run and was caught offside having left the defense in his wake.
Jose Cuevas then created half a chance after 55 minutes, when he worked space for a cross on the right edge of the box, but he couldn’t find Jarad Van Schaik, who was making a run, but was unable to get a clean header on the ball after being shut down.
There was a bit of a scare as Odisnel Cooper was collided into a minute later, but after treatment, was able to continue the game with no harm done.
His resolve was tested just after the hour mark when a striker broke free and had a shot from range, but Coop was able to get down relatively easy to parry away.
The Battery then regained that little bit of insurance shortly after, when a corner led to a free kick given for obstruction just outside the box. Jose Cuevas played an excellent ball toward the back post, which Dane Kelly redirected in for his second goal of the match, also giving Cuevas his second assist of the match.
Four minutes after the goal, Cuevas was replaced, coming off for Dante Marini. Marini would add just a little more pace to the attack, while giving Jose a much needed rest.
But with a quarter of an hour to go, on 75, Thomas Garner would play a long ball to Kim Seung-Ju, giving the visitors a little bit of hope.
Although, the defense always looked capable of holding on, as the last real chance fell to Heviel Cordoves, who would replace two goal man Dane Kelly late on.
In stoppage time, Cordoves was able to latch onto a long ball in the box, controlling, though instead of taking the shot first time, he decided to let the ball drift onto his more favored left foot, and by time he did this, the chance was gone and the Cuban was eventually shut down.
And that’s the way the match ended. The Battery take hold of, at least a temporary playoff spot as they move into eighth position in the table.
The Battery next face the Rochester Rhinos in the last of their three-match home stand as they approach the final stretch of the season.
TOP IMAGE: DANE KELLY ROUNDS OFF AN EXCELLENT MOVE TO OPEN THE SCORING, THE FIRST OF TWO GOALS FOR THE STRIKER WEDNESDAY EVENING. VIN DUFFY/CHARLESTON BATTERY PHOTOS