Categorized | Match Reports

The Crew lay siege to the Battery

Posted on 10 July 2010 by jzidar

In 2008 the Charleston Battery powered their way from the first round of the Lamar Hunt US  Open Cup all the way to the final. Despite the epic run through the tournament they ultimately lost the match 2-1 to DC United. Charleston’s appearance in the final was the first time a USL club had played in the final since Rochester won the cup in 1999. In 2009 the Battery yet again made a valiant charge through the opening rounds only to be knocked off by the Houston Dynamo in a 4-0 loss.  So when the Charleston Battery came to Columbus on Tuesday to face the Crew in a Open Cup quarterfinal match they had victory on the mind. Unfortunately for them the Crew had other ideas….

Columbus

—————-Grunebaum—————-

–Zayner-Brunner–Marshall-Francis–

———-Oughton——-O’Rourke———

—–Renteria——-Ekpo——Duka——

——————-Lenhart——————-

Bench: Hesmer; Iro; Gaven(Duka 61′), Rogers, Yanez, Griffit(Renteria 76′); Garey(Lenhart 88′)

Charleston

———————-Melia———————

–Woodbine–Falvey–Wilson–Marples–

—Massie–Gueye–Fuller–Armstrong—

———–Neagle—-Heinemann————

Bench: Wiggans; Zaher; Bolton, Gruenewald(Massie 70′), Jackson(Fuller 82′), Prince; Nunes(Armstrong 72′)

This was the Crew’s fourth match in 11 days but thanks to their incredible depth fatigue wasn’t an issue.  Chad Marshall was the only player to start against Charleston who also started against Chicago just three days before. Three other players (Lenhart, O’Rourke and Renteria) had been subbed in against Chicago but none had seen more than 25 minutes of action.  There is no doubt that the Columbus ‘A team’ is stronger than the Columbus ‘B team’ but there is something to be said for the fact that any member of the ‘B team’ could immediately earn a starting spot on another MLS team. In the words of Steven Lenhart “Columbus rolls so deep”.

Although the scoreline doesn’t suggest it, this match was less lopsided than the previous one against Rochester.  Charleston managed to hold its own for most of the first half.  That was until the 38th minute when Lenhart leapt into the air to try and receive a Duncan Oughton cross.  Charleston defender, Stephen Armstrong, saw what was materializing and tried to defend Lenhart but instead ended up just yanking him to the ground. Hilario Grajeda really had no choice but to blow his whistle and point to the penalty spot. At first it appeared as if Lenhart was going to get the opportunity to redeem himself for the missed PK against DC just a week before but when the box cleared it was Emilio Renteria who was left standing over the ball. In typical Renteria fashion he went with power rather than finesse as he took the kick. He ran up to the ball and unleashed an absolute rocket. Whether Charleston goalkeeper, Tim Melia, just guessed the wrong direction or was actually attempting to get out of the way of what could possibly have been a fatal shot we’ll never know.  The kick was so powerful that it literally lifted the posts off the ground.

As the second half progressed the Crew were pushing for a second goal but the ball just didn’t seem to want to go in the net.  Finally in the 70th minute Steven Lenhart struck again, this time actually scoring the goal rather than just creating the opportunity. It began with Emmanuel Ekpo sending the ball outside to Duncan Oughton who was lurking along the right hand side.  Oughton stepped towards the corner flag and sent in a fast pass along the ground. Lenhart simply had to slide in and tap the ball past the keeper and into the net.

With Columbus leading 2-0 it seemed as if their passage into the semifinals was assured.  In the 87th minute Eddie Gaven sealed the deal with a last minute insurance goal. Ekpo and Leandre Griffit got on a breakaway and Ekpo ended up with the ball in the box. Rather than take the shot Ekpo dropped the ball back to the top of the 18 yard box and into the path of the onrushing Gaven who slammed the ball home to give the home team a 3-0 lead.

Columbus must now wait until the 21st to see who wins the match between the Harrisburg City Islanders and DC United. If DC wins then Columbus will face them at the Maryland SoccerPlex on September 1st.  If Harrisburg wins then Columbus will face them at Columbus Crew Stadium on August 31st.

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