By NICHOLAS MURRAY – firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, March 20, 2016
CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Charleston Battery laid out a marker in their final preseason game before the start of the 2016 USL regular season on Saturday night, as a 3-0 victory against the New York Cosmos saw the side put together a complete performance at MUSC Health Stadium.
Remaining defensively solid against a good Cosmos attack, Ricky Garbanzo scored twice, and Maikel Chang proved a creative force to lead the Battery to a victory that left Coach Mike Anhaeuser pleased with where his side stood ahead of its contest against FC Cincinnati.
“All the pieces are coming together,” Anhaeuser said. “We do have a couple of guys going on international duty next week which may hurt us a little, but it’s like having two injuries. We gotta prepare. We prepared tonight and got a couple of guys in there and they did well. So we’re looking good and it’s great to go out there and get the [win].”
- RELATED: Garbanzo Leads Battery to Victory against Cosmos
Now entering his third season with the club, Garbanzo’s chemistry with Chang that allowed him to be in the right place at the right time proved key on Saturday, as goals in either half gave the Battery a firm hold on the game.
“Yeah, it was the first actual real test for us and I wanted to show everyone that the Battery is really good and we can compete against the team that won the NASL,” Garbanzo said. “This is exactly the way I wanted to start my season.”
While Garbanzo got the goals, Chang continued to show his growth as he provided assists on the Battery’s opening two goals, and also played a role in Dante Marini’s third for the side. After two difficult seasons that were hampered by injury, Chang led the Battery with six assists a year ago, and seems to be in good form as he begins his fourth season with the club.
“The first one, the game was real close and all I saw was Ricky at the near post, so I hit the ball to him and it just worked out,” Chang said of the night’s goals. “And the second goal, I had the ball and I saw the line of four in a straight line, and all I saw was Ricky making a diagonal run into the box, so I just picked up my head and put it in the box and that’s how we scored.”
Undefeated in both the league and playoffs at MUSC Health Stadium since May, 2014, the Battery’s strong home form has been a key to the club’s success over the past five years. With a strong expansion side in FC Cincinnati coming to challenge that next Saturday, Anhaeuser is looking forward to the start of the season.“To open at home is huge,” Anhaeuser said. “We’ve done really well here. But Cincinnati has put together a really good team and we’ve got to be ready. We don’t know exactly what they’ve got to offer, we do know some of the players, but it’s going to be a great night. If the weather is like this and the pitch is in perfect condition, and if we can score goals like this, it’s going to be an exciting season.”