BY JOHN ACE
A tough week continues for the Battery as they fell to the Orlando City Lions, despite some good chances, and second half dominance, by a score of 2-0.
After falling to the Orlando U23 team this past week in the US Open Cup, the Battery took the clash against the first team as a chance to rebound, after understandably being frustrated.
Switching from their usual formation of 4-4-2, they changed to a 4-2-3-1, with Quinton Griffith taking his natural position on the right wing, while Taylor Meuller slotted in at right back, with Jarad Van Schaik and Amadou Sanyang playing as holding midfield players. Zach Prince and Andre Lewis rounded out the midfield, while Mamadou Diouf was the lone striker.
Though it took a good 15 minutes for either side to find their feet, both teams had good amounts of time on the ball, though the midfield was congested, as it looked like the Battery had employed the same formation as Orlando to manage the game (and more importantly the home sides’ attack) more effectively.
Despite being bogged down in midfield, Orlando got the majority of the pressure cooking, mostly through corner kicks, which were dealt with well for awhile. Though as time in the first half wound down, the pressure began to tell more and more, with Corey Hertzog getting his first league goal of the campaign with three minutes to go in the first half.
It looked to be the same old story as matches gone for the Battery, whose major downfall this season has been defending well, not putting away chances, and letting their resilience slip at crucial points in games, this time conceding just before half time.
Things looked bleak going into the second half, but as the Battery got the match back underway, they showed good character and looked a much better side. They were pushing the initiative and pressing the ball extremely well, this led to a chance following a mix-up in the Orlando defense in the 54th minute, in which Mamadou Diouf could only put onto the post after he took the ball off of Orlando’s last defender.
Diouf was denied well again just after the hour mark as his shot from a free kick looked to be heading in, but for Gallardo in the Orlando goal made a class save to his left and knocking the ball behind for a corner, which was the ineffective.
As it looked as though the Battery could exploit a weary-looking Orlando defense down the wings, Maikel Chang came into the game after 73 minute, replacing Andre Lewis, to add some pace to the attack. Two minutes later, Heviel Cordoves would also come in, replacing Zach Prince, as the visitors went with two up front.
However, Orlando began to counter, and they got insurance in the 77th minute, when a cross from Austin da Luz found Kevin Molino at the back post, after beating Odisnel Cooper in the Battery goal, and Molino volleyed in to double Orlando’s lead.
The Battery didn’t take their foot off the pedal following the goal, however, at least to find a consolation. Though, following the goal, Orlando’s defense seemed to find what they needed to get over the line, leaving the Battery to rue missed chances, as they have for most of the season.
The defeat means that the Battery have yet to win against Orlando away from home, this being their final meeting in the regular season before Orlando make the jump to the MLS after the season ends.
The Battery return home to face LA Galaxy II after a week off, as they will surely take the week to fine-tune the changes they’ve made in hopes of turning their season around.
TOP IMAGE: Orlando fullback Tyler Turner strips Charleston’s fullback John Wilson with a perfect sliding tackle to snuff out a Battery chance Saturday in Orlando. Dan Conover image.