Friday, April 15, 2011

Preview: Charleston Battery-Dayton Dutch Lions

Last Saturday, the Charleston Battery won their 2011 USL Pro season opener 1-0 against the Charlotte Eagles. This Saturday they will begin a three-game road trip with a fixture with the Dayton Dutch Lions, who are playing their first game of the season. Here's what to expect:

Dayton Dutch Lions:
Last Year: In 2010, the Lions played their first season in the Great Lakes Division of the USL's Premier Development League. They finished 3rd in their division, missing the PDL playoffs. They were knocked out in the 1st round of the US Open Cup.
Who's Back: Since they are moving from the PDL (which is an amateur league) to the USL Pro, they couldn't bring all of the players from last year's team back for the 2011 season. They did keep a few, among these were Julius Wille, who was part of the FC Twente youth system, and Brett Jones who played formerly played for the Cincinatti Kings.
Who's New: The Lions obviously had to pick up a lot of player's for this season, and they were fairly successful in bringing some talent in. The back line looks solid, as they brought in the 2010 PDL Defender of the Year, Joe Tait, into Dayton. As well as Bahamian defender Happy Hall and Evan Schwartz, who was highly touted by many MLS teams, including Toronto FC. They picked up forward Kolby LaCrone, who looks to be a promising young prospect.

What to Expect:
The Battery will, again, come out in a 4-4-2. The Starting XI will probably look something like this:
Marples Wilson Zaher Dugoni
Prince Peverly Paterson Armstrong
Coleman Kelly
We should see Dykstra in goal this Saturday. He played fair against Charlotte, but got caught way off his line once, but luckily John Wilson was their to save the day (and Dykstra's starting job).

The back line should stay the same as last week. Marples and Zaher both had solid performances in the back and both got forward well. Wilson was the man of the match last week. He showed that he really hasn't lost a step, and honestly if we didn't have him to anchor our back, we'd be very shaky. Dugoni played well in his debut for the Battery, showing he could defend crosses well, and I see him starting again today. Colin Falvey is back for this match, I could see him coming in for Dugoni later in the game, but it wouldn't surprise me if he got the start.

Not many changes to the midfield. The only change I have from last week is Nicki Paterson for Kevin Jackson. Jackson just didn't play effectively enough for me, and Paterson had some great diagonal balls into the box late in the game. Armstrong, Prince, and Peverly all played well enough to get spots in the starting XI.

I was really pleased with Coleman's performance last Saturday. He kept the ball well, and showed that he could use his physical presence to make himself space. Kelly played well, creating some pressure throughout the game and showing off his speed, but seemed to have bad stretches occasionally where he couldn't keep the ball. A little more help coming from behind him, instead of the wings could help him a lot.

For Dayton, it looks like some variation of 4-4-2, possibly a diamond:
Copier Tait Hall Schwartz
Magill         Wille
Van der Pluijm
Davis IV Lacrone
We're looking at a fairly young team hear. The back line looks good, but inexperienced. The midfield should be strong with Wille and Magill working the ball forward. The diamond 4-4-2 will naturally open up the passing triangles for these young players to work it forward to Lacrone and Davis IV.

For more information on Dayton and their roster, check out this link.

Bottom line: Charleston could easily win this game. Playing your first road game of the season is always a learning experience, but with a young Dayton team (plus this being their opener), we could easily out-match and out-class them.

You can watch the game live on The kick off is set for 7:30 this Saturday, April the 16th.

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