Friday, August 31, 2012
ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- A late goal by Tony Donatelli, and then a game-winning shootout goal by J.C. Banks, sent the Charleston Battery into the USL PRO Championship Game s they defeated the Rochester Rhinos 4-3 in a penalty shootout after the two teams had played to a 1-1 draw after regulation and extra time at Sahlen's Stadium on Friday night. Kendell McFayden had scored the opening goal of the game for the Rhinos, who were eliminated one win short of the championship game for a second consecutive season.
After a scoreless first half, Rochester was able to break through with what appeared to be a crucial goal 10 minutes after the intermission. Winger Danny Earls served a ball into the penalty area with his favored left foot from the left flank. The Battery’s defense was able to scramble the ball away, but only as far as Rhinos center midfielder Tyler Rosenlund at the top of the box. Rosenlund hit a shot on goal, but Charleston goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra dove to his right and parried the ball away. McFayden was the first player to the rebound and finished over a stranded Dykstra to give Rochester a 1-0 lead.
The Rhinos held onto their slim lead all the way to the last seconds of stoppage time when Donatelli was able to find the equalizer against his old club. The Battery’s goal started when Charleston left back John Wilson hit a shot from the top of the box that was blocked by Rhinos substitute Kyle Manscuk, whose block cleared the ball out of the penalty area, but the Battery served the ball back into the mixer. Rhinos center back Georgios Kyriazis attempted to clear the ball out of the box, but his clearing attempt hit Manscuk in the back. The ball deflected off Manscuk and fell to Charleston’s Kyle Hoffer. Hoffer calmly served a ball into the far post that Donatelli was able to finish with a header to level the score.
After thirty scoreless minutes of extra time the match ended in a 1-1 draw, and the club that would advance to the USL PRO Championship Game had to be decided on penalty kicks. The Rhinos took the first kick of the shootout, but Dykstra saved Rhinos super sub Andrew Hoxie. Nicki Paterson converted his penalty to give Charleston a 1-0 lead after the first round. Kyriazis, Earls, and substitute Gustavo Zamudio converted Rochester’s next three penalties. Donatelli missed the Battery’s second kick and Rhinos goalkeeper Kristian Nicht saved Charleston captain Colin Falvey to give Rochester a 3-2 lead heading into the fifth round. But Rhinos captain Troy Roberts had a chance to win the shootout, but he missed his penalty and Charleston substitute Zach Prince converted to force sudden death.
After both goalkeepers made saves in the sixth round, Dykstra saved Rosenlund’s penalty to start the seventh round and Mack converted his kick to send Charleston through to the final. The Battery will host the Wilmington Hammerheads in the USL PRO Championship Game at Blackbaud Stadium on Saturday, September 8 at 7:30 p.m. ET.