Saturday, August 25, 2012
CHARLESTON, S.C. -- The Charleston Battery defeated the Harrisburg City Islanders 2-1 in the quarterfinals of the USL PRO Playoffs on Saturday night at Blackbaud Stadium. Nicki Paterson and Tony Donatelli both scored back-to-back goals in the final minutes of the first half to lift the Battery to victory, and a contest with the Rochester Rhinos in the semifinals next Friday night for a place in the USL PRO Championship Game.
The City Islanders opened the scoring in the 15th minute when midfielder Tom Mellor carried the ball down the left side of the field, catching the Battery defense on its heels. Mellor played a fast, early ball into Brian Ombiji’s feet on the back post, catching Andrew Dykstra out of position, and the forward was able to tap his finish home.
In the 40th minute the Battery rallied to level the score. The play started when Paterson played the ball to Tony Donatelli on the left side of the penalty area, the veteran taking a shot that deflected off the near post. The ball bounced back, creating chaos in the 18-yard-box, and a handball was called on an Islanders defender, giving Charleston a penalty kick. Paterson took the shot and fired it low into the left corner of the net to even up the score.
With the momentum turning their way, the Battery edged another goal just before the halftime whistle. Donatelli passed the ball into forward Jose Cuevas’ feet, who turned and held it up. Donatelli continued his run through the center of the field, and Cuevas played him a well-timed ball through for a breakaway to beat Harrisburg goalkeeper Nick Noble and give the Battery the halftime lead.
Harrisburg fought hard in the second half to try and find an equalizer, but the Battery defense held firm as Charleston worked in unison to prevent the City Islanders from finding a way back into the game. The Battery almost added a third goal in stoppage time after Mark Wiltse found himself free at near the halfway line and took a 50-yard breakaway to goal. As he approached the goalkeeper he slipped a shot past the advancing Noble, but his effort rolled just wide of the left post.
With the win the Battery advance to the semifinals of the USL PRO Playoffs and will face the Rochester Rhinos next Friday, August 31st at Sahlen’s Stadium (1340 AM). Kickoff is set for 7:35 p.m.