Charleston Battery trained at nearly full capacity on Wednesday as the team bounced back from Saturday’s Bridge Run and Tuesday night’s scrimmage against Coastal Carolina.
Wednesday’s session started about an hour later than usual thanks to last night’s scrimmage, which got pushed back to an evening evening because of the rain.
HEALTH: Defenders John Wilson and Jackson Farmer returned to training Wednesday after sitting out Tuesday with leftover soreness from the team’s participation in the Cooper River Bridge Run.
Also returning was winger/striker Adam Mena, who had been suffering from back spasms. He looked fine, but will have to show that he’s got no lingering effects if he wants to make this weekend’s travel roster.
Defensive midfielder Michael Kafari, who has yet to make his regular season professional debut because of knee issues, trained with no restrictions.
Meanwhile, winger/striker Omar Salgado spent some time running in athletic shoes as he recovers from what has been described as a plantar plate sprain. He’s apparently OK while doing fitness work, but still experiencing pain when he strikes a ball. Salgado also has some nerve damage around the site of the sprain left over from previous injuries to the foot. The club will not allow him to return to full training until the foot is completely pain free.
NEW ARRIVAL: Unsigned striker Austin Savage continues to train with the squad, and now he’s also been joined by midfielder Ralph Lundy III.
Lundy is the son of College of Charleston Coach Ralph Lundy Jr. After finishing his career at the College, Lundy’s push for a spot on the 2013 Battery roster ended with a preseason ACL injury. After rehabbing from his surgery, Lundy signed his first profession contract last year with the Digicel TT Pro League in the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago.
He returned to Charleston last week after the completion of a successful season with Caledonia AIA.
The Battery’s other previously unsigned player, LB/CB Drew Ruggles, signed with Wilmington Hammerheads last week after a short trial.
BATTERY 2, COASTAL 0: It’s always a good sign when your strikers get your goals from the run of play, and substitutes Heviel Cordoves and Mamadou Diouf put the Battery up in the second half as seven replacements wore down the Chanticleers and broke open a match that went to the break scoreless.
Central midfielder Jarad van Schaik started alongside the back line of Colin Falvey and Shawn Ferguson (center backs) and Taylor Mueller. Coach Mike Anhaeuser‘s other starters included Quinton Griffin, Amadou Sanyang, Aminu Abdallah, Andre Lewis, Zach Prince and Dane Kelly.
Kelly, who has been recovering from a strained hamstring since March 1, went to entire first half.
“He wasn’t 100 percent sharp, but but he made it through the 45, and he looked good,” Anhaeuser said. “He had two chances on breakaways, which was great to see. I’ve still got to be cautious, because we
don’t want to rush him… but I think he’s 100 percent.
“Then after the second half we put in Cordoves and Diouf up front and (five other sets of) fresh legs, and they seemed to take control.”
I missed the scrimmage because I forgot to check on whether Coastal Carolina had been scheduled, so I don’t have anything interesting to add here from my own observation, but there’s one other thing Anhaeuser said that’s probably worth passing on: “(I) tried a couple things last night, to look at a couple of players. I can’t give you any inside information, but we’ll say that maybe we’ll throw something a little different out there (at Orlando).”
So stay tuned.
TRAINING: With Monday sandwiched between a tiring team Bridge Run on Saturday and Tuesday’s rescheduled scrimmage against Coastal, this hasn’t been a good week for training so far, Anhaeuser said.
The second half of Thursday’s session was devoted to some fairly relentless finishing drills at both ends of the practice pitch.
“Today was really to push them a little harder, even playing 45… so if you look at from the two days, now they’ve got 90 minutes of work. Then we’ll … taper down tomorrow, which we always do.”
Several players looked solid in their passing and finishing, changing up pace and approach to put keepers Odisnel Cooper and Eric Shannon on their heels. The drills gave the advantage to the offense, isolating the keepers again and again. But unlike Battery training sessions in March, this time the finishing looked calm and clinical.
None of the players hung around for long after-practice extra work, but Anhaeuser kept Lewis, the 18-year-old MLS first-rounder from Jamaica, out on the pitch for an extended coaching talk.
SCHEDULE: The Battery will go through a relatively light training session at Blackbaud Thursday morning and then depart for Orlando on Friday morning. They plan on arriving early enough to check into the hotel, walk the field at the Lions’ new digs at the Disney/ESPN Wide World of Sports complex south of town, and then train around 6:30.
We’ll have a preview of Orlando tomorrow.
TOP IMAGE: Battery Coach Mike Anhaeuser looks on his team wraps up training on Wednesday. Dan Conover photos.