Saturday, August 24, 2013
CHARLESTON, S.C. -- The Charleston Battery defeated the Los Angeles Blues 2-1 to advance to the semifinals of the USL PRO Playoffs on Saturday night at Blackbaud Stadium. Dane Kelly and Mike Azira both scored as the defending champion Battery held off Los Angles and move into the next round.
The Battery will face Orlando City next Friday night at the Florida Citrus Bowl in the semifinals with kick off set for 7:30 p.m. ET (Sports Radio 1450 AM).
Los Angeles put the Battery under pressure in the opening stages and were unlucky not to take the lead in the 21st minute after Matt Fondy worked himself into a shooting position at the edge of the penalty area. Fondy hit a right-footed shot that beat Charleston goalkeeper Odisnel Cooper, but cannoned back off the right post and away to safety.
Charleston fought back, and took the lead less than three minutes later after Nicki Paterson picked out Kelly just inside the penalty area. The Jamaican forward pulled the ball past his defender and drilled a left-footed finish into the right corner off the goal to give the Battery the lead.
Cooper was called into action again in the 37th minute as Fondy tried another shot, this time from outside the penalty area. The ball came in at pace, but Cooper managed to get across and tipped it wide of his left post.
Both teams traded chances after the halftime break, but it was the Battery who were able to double their advantage as midfielder Mike Azira played in Quinton Griffith behind the Los Angeles right back. Griffith squared the ball back to Azira, who hammered his first-time shot into the goal to make it 2-0 in the 71st minute.
The Blues pulled a goal back in the 84th minute through substitute forward Mohammad Roknipour, but the defending USL PRO champions were strong enough to hold off the Blues despite some late pressure and advance to the semifinal round.