A few things to pass along here at the ridge pole of the week…
TEAM OF THE WEEK: Three Battery players made USL PRO’s Team of the Week — which is a lot, until you figure in that only four teams played in the league’s first weekend of 2014.
Man of the Match Odisnel Cooper made the list — as well he should have. So did John Wilson, who captained the Battery with Colin Falvey out, and Mamadou Diouf, who scored the team’s first goal of the year in his professional debut. The Sengalese striker is on loan from Vancouver.
Two Battery men earned honorable mentions: Omar Salgado, who went 45 minutes in the second half and was highly influential, and Shawn Ferguson, who was simply a beast in central defense. The 6-4 second year man saw the Battery through a stunning 17 corners from Orlando without surrendering a score off a set piece.
The rest of the squad is split between players from Orlando, L.A. Galaxy II and O.C. Blues.
Mark your Calendar: First Falvey’s Army: Call to Arms will be Tues, April 1st from 5:30-7:30pm at Molly Darcy’s! More info to come!
— Charleston Battery (@Chas_Battery) March 26, 2014
I’M ON THE PODCAST, EH: Got to spend some time talking with Michael McColl of Vancouver’s Away From The Numbers blog on his There’s Still Time podcast on Tuesday. Great independent football writer, very knowledgeable, a Scot who is still loyal to East Fife but a great fan of Whitecaps soccer.
He had lots of questions about the Whitecaps on loan (although we didn’t cover all of them), but I think a lot of what he wanted to know is what Whitecaps fans want to know: What are they getting in Charleston as a partner?
It’s a pretty long interview, but as long as he asked, I tried to answer.
The Charleston segment starts right around the 30-minute mark.
BTW, my big sneaky push was to get McColl to interview new Canadian footballer Nicki Paterson of the Ottawa Fury. Because two Scots talking football in Canada would be like a drinking game waiting to happen.
COMING UP: Tomorrow I’ll be at Battery training, and then shooting a Battery TV preview of the Richmond game with my friend Dane Arlaukas. Our preview should be up on Friday.
BONUS TIME: Finally got finished transcribing my interview with Mike Anhaeuser from Tuesday. Figured some of you might be interested in his answers.
CHS: How’s it different with Troy here? Does it change the way you structure practice?
MA: I don’t structure it any differently. It’s just you’ve got an extra set of eyes. You’ve got somebody who can, at the end, do a little bit more individually. Positionally. It also allows him to do some things where I can watch a little bit more.
You can maybe watch a few guys a little bit closer than you can when you’re doing the training. You’re watching everybody and making sure it’s going well, whereas now I can sit and just watch certain individuals or even guys with an injury to see how they’re moving.
At the end we can do 10, 15, 20 minutes of individual stuff. A little more that I can do with defenders, and he’s got forwards and midfielders. So it’s good. They’re working on some things that just give you that little sharpness.
CHS: You’ve had a few days to review and reflect on the Orlando game. Have any of your impressions changed?
MA: They dominated possession, but that’s not anything we didn’t expect. The first half, we actually defended very well. We did give up two good chances where Cooper made the really saves on the left side. One because they slipped a really nice ball through, and two we got caught giving the ball away.
But other than that, we had some chances, too, that I didn’t think we had as many, that we just missed maybe that end product. I think Jarad had a shot, I think Amadou, John Wilson. Cordoves whipped a couple of crosses.
So we were actually down there a lot. In fairness, it was even. Back and forth.
Second half, I knew that we were on our heels, but it was more from that 50-minute mark to that 60-minute mark. Probably about 10, 15 minutes where we had a couple of miscues on a pass… that we were pretty fortunate not to give up a goal.
But after that, the goal we picked up against the run of play, and then we settled down. The unfortuate thing (for them) was they didn’t score on their chances that were probably better. (On their goal) they came into the box and it was more of a knock down, and it went right to their guy that was standing there. Shawn kinda deflects (it).
So it wasn’t from their build-up where you could have said, ‘Hey, they deserve it.’ But that’s how it works.
And after that I think it was a pretty even game.
(Corners were) the big problem at the end. From the 65th minute to the end of the game they had seven more corners. And four were in a row.
After five corners you usually get a goal. That’s the percentage. And we were a little fortunate there, because we gave up a lot of corners.
In the end, the way the result finished was great.
If we buckled down, I think we could have really put them under pressure and scratched out a 1-0 win against the run. But they’re going to pass on everybody. They’re going to possess the ball, like RSL does in the MLS.
We play them next week. We’re not going to worry right now, but we need to be better against them down there. Because they will cause us more problems at home.
We defended very well. We just defended too much.
CHS: What are you going to do with your back line if both Quinton Griffin (suspension) and Taylor Mueller (injury) are out?
MA: Jackson has played outside a couple times. Taylor, I’ve got to be a little bit cautious with that one, because we don’t want to jump back in with a concussion.
The good thing is Colin is coming back, and he’ll be in the middle, probably with Shawn, and then Johnny. A couple other options (at right back) would be Jarad, or Taylor, maybe, if he’s healthy. But we’ll have to wait and see. The right side’s really only the problem we’ve got.
CHS: What’s the situation with Maikel Chang’s hamstring?
MA: He’s playing the minutes, and we did some hard work yesterday. He tightened up. We’re probably being a little bit cautious. I would assume he’s going to be OK. But it’s a long season. I don’t want him to be out.
And we’ve got plenty of players. Andre Lewis. We’ve got some other guys we might be able to stick out there. Maybe slide Adam into the back. We’ve got a couple of options. But I will be safe… because I don’t want somebody to be out for an extended period from trying to rush them back when we don’t need to.
CHS: How important is it that all your Vancouver players have been through at least two practices?
MA: The problem with that is now you’ve got a few more players and you actually could see yourself maybe making adjustments or tweaks here or there.
But you know me. I don’t like to try to invent too many things.
We have gone with two forwards. We did well. But even against Orlando down there, it might not be the thing we have to do. We might have to slide an extra midfielder in there to limit their passing and their spacing. So we’ll look at that.
But this week? We’ve got some offensive weapons. Where we’re going to slide them in, how we’re going to do it? You know, Dane’s back in. It’s just making sure they’re ready to go.
If Dane’s (hamstring is) ready to go, we’ll probably try to get him back in there. But we don’t want to rush them. Last year Jose tried to play and re-injured it against the same team, Richmond. And then he was out for four to six weeks, and that’s no good. That’s no good for anybody.
If he’s good for maybe 10, 15 minutes, maybe that’s an option. Because when you don’t play for a little while, you lose your sharpness.
CHS: What’s the status on Drew Ruggles and Austin Savage?
MA: They’re just non-rostered players. Still trying to work out what’s going to happen. I gotta talk to Drew. But we’ve got a couple of things happening where they might go get games, possibly with our team up in Columbia that we’re semi-affilated with (Palmetto Bantums FC). Drew might go into camp again with Wilmington if I can’t do something.
But at the same time, Drew might sign a contract. Because I’m we’re so thin in the back.
That’s why they’re here. It’s not because they’re not good enough. It’s just more of the roster space and how I do it. But I can’t also rush into it. If I sign something and I can’t get out of it, or they can’t get out of it to go somewhere else. You don’t want to ruin an opportunity for a player for one game.
Just like you didn’t know we’d have the loaned goalie, (Drew) could be on the roster on Saturday.
I’d have make that (decision) by Thursday. So (Wednesday) will probably be a big day. After talking with Bobby I probably gotta try a couple of guys in a few positions just to see how they look. So I can make my final decision. Because I’ve got a couple of options.
Right now you’re leaning one way, but it could hcnage.
If Omar’s up front in this game, with somebody, then that changes. Maybe Andre slides in. Maybe Adam slides back. Who knows? Maybe Zach slides across. You could have one or two changes, but it could be three, four position moves.
CHS: The way MLS people talk about Omar Salgado is he looks like a center forward, but he’s really a winger. What do you think?
MA: They play him wide. It’s really saying that you have a winger that stays forward. You play a 4-4-2, you can leave him out there and just let him not come back.
But he’s always been a striker. When he gets a chance, you can see he’s always looking to score. Which is a striker.
Out wide you don’t get as many chances as you do up front. Usually. Doesn’t mean if you read the game well (they won’t come). But you have to run twice as much, and it takes you a lot longer to get there.
I might try him on the left. I’m not sure if he might not be a better fit. And we play a couple of guys out front and put him out wide, or keep him up front and slide somebody else out wide.
TOP IMAGE: Mike Anhaeuser at practice on Tuesday. Dan Conover photos.