Thursday, June 30, 2011

Expansion Franchise LA Blues Coming to Town

Tomorrow the Battery will get their first look at the Los Angeles Blues, a team that's first season has been a great success. Here's your preview:

Los Angeles Blues:
This Season: The Blues have gathered a 5-3-3 record this season, and those 18 points have been good enough for a 3rd place standing in the National Division. With a few games in hand, the Blues are looking to make a run for a playoff spot late in the season. On Tuesday their U.S. Open Cup run ended in a 2-1 loss to the LA Galaxy, and their last USL Pro result ended in a 2-1 result as well, this time to the Harrisburg City Islanders.
Who's Playing Big: 34 year old Walter Gaitan is leading the team in goals, but he hasn't scored since April. He's also tallied 3 assists which is good enough for first on the team. The Blues have had 11 different scorers this season, with 6 having one goal, 3 having two, and 1 having three, and 1 having four.
Who's Need's to Step Up: The team seems to play pretty well together from what I've seen, and this could be a team that makes a run in the playoffs. The schedule for LA will be tough for the rest of the season. Anytime you have to fly across the country to play, it will take a toll on your team. The Blues will make three more cross country trips during the remainder of the season, including the one to Charleston.
What to Expect:
My prediction for the Starting XI:
Wiltse Wilson Falvey Zaher
Peverley Paterson Taylor Armstrong
Kelly Coleman

Dykstra should again be in goal, especially since Wiggans go the start against Pittsburgh on Saturday and didn't fair too well in the 2-0 loss.

The back line went through some changes last week, but most of them were just to give everyone an appropriate amount of rest. The back should be back to normal this week, with one exception. I really liked Wiltse's play at RB last weekend, and I feel that he should get the nod. He got forward really well, and I could easily see him getting the start.

This is our strongest midfield in my opinion. Peverley, Paterson, and Armstrong are no question our best three midfielders, while the last spot is up for some interpretation. I decided to got with Evan Taylor.

Up front should be Dane Kelly and Levi Coleman. Kelly is in his best form of the season, and his goal against Wilmington was brilliant. If you have it recorded on your DVR, I recommend you go have a second look at it.

Now something of note is that last week in the Pittsburgh match, the Battery played one man up front and played more of a 4-2-3-1. They kept Levi Coleman up front, and later would put in Dane Kelly. Charleston has done this multiple times this year, and they have had some success off it (see the Richmond match on 5/24). It will be interesting to see what they come out in.

The Battery only have eight matches left, and three of them are with league-leading Orlando City. Charleston needs to continue this good slide of games in these last matches if they want to keep their spot in the play-offs.

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