Today’s GameWho: Charlotte Eagles 3-2-4 (13 points) at Charleston Battery 6-3-1 (19 points)When: 7:30 p.m.Where: Blackbaud StadiumRadio: WQNT 1450-AM
Charleston Batery midfielder Ben Fisk hasn’t been on the field very much this season. A knee injury has limited his playing time, but when the Vancouver native has been healthy enough to play, he’s proven to be instant offense for the Battery.
Fisk, 20, on loan to Charleston from Major League Soccer’s Vancouver Whitecaps, had a goal and an assist in his professional debut — a 4-1 victory over Antigua in the Battery’s home opener.
Fisk’s skill set was on full display against the Barracudas. His deceptive speed, his ability to beat defenders one-on-one with either foot and his service into the penalty area make him one of the top young talents in the USL Pro Division this season.
“Ben was probably one of the best players on the field for us against Antigua,” said Charleston Battery coach Mike Anhaeuser. “A lot of guys his age might get a little nervous making his first pro start, but Ben looked like a veteran.”
In his limited amount of time on the field this season — just 191 total minutes — Fisk has proven to be an offensive force with two goals and an assist.
The problem for Fisk and for the Battery has been his health. Fisk has played in just four games with only two starts. After his impressive debut against Antigua, Fisk missed the next six matches after undergoing surgery to repair a meniscus tear in his knee. It was an injury that Fisk had suffered in Vancouver during the preseason and thought was behind him.
“My knee would swell up after matches and training and I was probably playing at about 80 percent when the season started,” Fisk said. “I thought I could battle through it, but it wasn’t getting any better. I couldn’t train like I needed to, so I went ahead with the surgery.”
Fisk got his second start this past Friday night against Harrisburg City and quickly recorded his second goal of the season.
“Ben is very difficult to defend,” Anhaeuser said. “He’s a very offensive-minded winger and has shown that final ball quality that makes him so dangerous. He can create his own scoring chances or whip the ball in from distance with quality, and that’s a rare combination.”
After training with the Whitecaps for the past two years, Fisk was ready to get some professional game experience this summer. Fisk had played in more than two dozen games for the Whitecaps U23 team, but the Vancouver native realized he needed to play in games that mattered.
“I was really excited to play in games where something was on the line,” Fisk said. “I know I needed to play against other professional players and get as many minutes as I could. I know that’s the only way to get better.”
Fisk suffered a minor relapse with his knee during training on Monday, but hopes to be in the lineup tonight or Saturday against Houston’s reserve team.
“I don’t want to push it too hard and get hurt again,” Fisk said. “If sitting out means it’ll be better for the rest of the season, that’s what I’ll do.”
Fisk isn’t the only Battery player on mend. The Battery will be without several key players tonight against the Eagles. Besides Fisk, the Battery will be without midfielders Zach Prince and Austin Savage and defender Cody Ellison because of injuries.
However, midfielder Quinton Griffith, who has missed the last three weeks with a groin injury, is expected to be available to play.
“It’s that time of year,” Anhaeuser said. “We’ve had a lot of games in a short amount of time and that’s when the injuries seem to pile up. It’s starting to get warmer, so guys have to take care of themselves.”