The Carolina Challenge Cup wrapped up on Saturday night with DC United being crowned winners for a second year in a row. Now maybe they can go forth and live up to the leagacy that they failed at last season and so many Carolina Challenge Cup winners before them have succeeded at, winning either the MLS Supporters Shield, MLS Cup or US Open Cup. Until last year, the team that had won the CCC went on to win one of the three.
The Charleston Battery finished second in the tournament, the highest ever for the Battery. Kudos to the team and the organization for putting together a highly entertaining tournament. This year, more than 11,895 people attended the three days of matches and we learn the Battery will be a force defensively.
There were a few players that stood out to No Quarter during the cup.
The two Jamaicans, Dane Kelly and Evan Taylor made an immediate impact. Even more impressive is that one of them was lost at the Charleston International Airport on Saturday night and neither had much time to train with the team.
Andrew Dykstra played well in goal and it is rumored he was offered a contract last week. I feel he will give Keith Wiggins a run for the starting position.
Seedy Bah and JC Mack also look like good forwards with tons of speed but with the Battery playing pretty defensive and being reduced to 9 men for most the match against Chicago it was hard for them to reach their full potential.
I was impressed with the defensive effort of Sean Flatley from the College of Charleston and Brazilian Guiherme Reis. I think the Luke Mullholland, Jerry Santil and Jose Cuevas did a fine job as well.
So now that the CCC is over for 2011, we move to the rest of preseason. First up is Clemson University. The Battery will host them at Blackbaud stadium on Wednesday, March 16 at 5pm.
Next up the Battery will travel to Cary, North Carolina on Saturday March, 19 to take on NASL's Carolina Railhawks at 4pm .
College of Charleston will host the Battery at Patriots Point on Wednesday, March 23. Kick off time is still to be announced.
Finally the Battery are scheduled to play old rival the Atlanta Silverback at Blackbaud Stadium on March 26, kick time to be announced. It will be interseting to see how the Silverback are this year as they have been dorment for two season and news out of their camp has been slim.
As the preseason matches go on, I imagine the Battery roster will reduce from the size of the one that was at the Carolina Challenge Cup. It should see Colin Falvey, Nikki Patterson and Cole Peverley join the team and would not be surprised to see a couple players that were on the MLS fringe.
Until April, there will still be some good (and free!) matches to check out. Up the Battery!