Orange County Blues FC vs. Charleston Battery
When: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Blackbaud Stadium
Records: Orange County (9-14-0, 27 points); Battery (6-8-8, 26 points)
Charleston Battery captain Colin Falvey got a chance to watch the team's last home match against Dayton from a unique perspective- the club's owner's box.
Falvey, who has been out of the lineup for the past two weeks with a lower body injury, hopes he won't be forced to watch anymore matches from high above the field.
The Battery takes on Orange County Blues FC at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday night at Blackbaud Stadium.
Falvey is expected to be back in the lineup against Orange County after missing the last two matches with a leg injury.
"Watching the games up in the box isn't easy," said Falvey, who has two goals in 18 USL Pro Division games this season. "You're kind of hanging on every touch, on every tackle and every shot. The worst part is that there's nothing you can do. It's kind of fun to watch a game from up there because you can see the play develop, but I'd rather be on the field."
The Blues ended a six-game skid Sunday with a 1-0 victory on the road at Rochester, claiming three points in the USL Pro standings to vault past Charleston, Wilmington and Pittsburgh into sole possession of the league's eighth and final playoff spot.
The Battery is on a five-match unbeaten streak, its longest of 2014, climbing from a tie for last place into contention for a playoff spot. The team is now in the middle of a three-match home stand, and holds a game in hand on Orange County heading into Wednesday's match. The Battery takes on Rochester at home Friday night.
"We're going to treat these next two matches like playoff games," said Charleston head coach Mike Anhaeuser. "We need to get as many points as we can out of these next two games so we can be in position for the playoffs."
Although Falvey has been training for only the last couple of days, he said he's still in good condition.
"I feel good, I think the doctors are going to look at me (Wednesday) to make sure I'm OK, but I feel good," Falvey said. "I'm match fit. I haven't been out that long. The biggest thing will be getting my touch back. That can only happen during game situations."
The Battery should also welcome back defensive midfielder Amadou Sanyang after a couple of weeks out of the lineup with an undisclosed injury.
"Amadou is a big part of our team," Falvey said.
In their absence, the Battery has relied on the central defensive pairing of Shawn Ferguson and Taylor Mueller, while central midfielder Jarad van Schaik has dropped into a deeper role. That's made room for rookie midfielder Justin Portillo in the central spot, and he's responded with two solid performances. Portillo's pairing with recently re-signed attacking midfielder Jose Cuevas and the resurgence of forward Dane Kelly have been the bright spots in an improving Battery attack.
The Blues are led by 33-year-old striker Allan Russell, a Scottish veteran formerly of Kilmarnock and the Carolina Railhawks of North American Soccer League. Russell has seven goals on the season, including the decisive score from the penalty spot at Rochester. A remarkable 36 players have appeared for the Blues in league matches this season.
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