Friday, June 29, 2012
ST. JOHN’S, Antigua -- Second-half goals by Jose Cuevas and J.C. Mack secured victory for the Charleston Battery, as they took a 2-0 victory against Antigua Barracuda FC on Friday night at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium. The victory moved the Battery within three points of Orlando City at the top of the USL PRO standings, while sending the Barracudas further into the depths of despair at the bottom of the table.
The first half was an even contest, with Antigua holding a slight edge in possession at the break. Both teams displayed undue caution, but in the first 20 minutes the visitors demonstrated why they have had the upper hand over the Caribbean outfit in their two previous meetings.
Opportunities, though, were few and far between, but both teams should have made use of openings that fell to them. Cuevas, before his telling intervention in the second half, had a golden opportunity to give his team the lead when a chipped cross eluded the Antigua defense, but he fired his opportunity straight at Antigua goalkeeper Keita Decastro, who saved easily.
In the dying embers of the first half, the home team too could claim they should have gone into the break ahead when Randolph Burton struck the left upright of Andrew Dykstra's goal, only to see it rebound and cleared to safety by a desperate Battery defense.
In the second half, the home team huffed and puffed but the visitors were up to every move and the energy from the Antigua team waned. In response, Antigua coach Tom Curtis rung the changes to inject new life into his lineup with four changes in as many minutes. This was quite a departure from the usually conservative Head Coach as he sought to breakdown the Charleston defense.
But it was Cuevas, industrious and still full of tricks, who found the back of the net as he exploited an error by defender Akeem Thomas, allowing the ball to run past him, and pounced to secure the all important lead in the 75th minute. The Battery's victory was sealed in stoppage time as Mack scored with almost the last kick of the match.
"It's disappointing, we seem plagued with errors that cost us these matches, it has to stop,"Barracudas Tam Manager Fernando Abraham said.
The teams meet again on Sunday at 7 p.m. ET, at the same venue, and the small band of supporters would hope for a much improved Barracuda performance. The game will be live on USLNation.