It took a few matches, but Charleston Battery midfielder and Jose Cuevas and striker Dane Kelly have finally found their offensive rhythm.
Cuevas had a goal and two assists and Kelly had two goals to lead Charleston past Orange County Blues FC, 3-2, Wednesday night before a crowd of 2,588 at Blackbaud Stadium.
With less than a month left in the regular season, the Battery improved to 7-8-8 (29 points) and moved into a tie for seventh place with OKC Energy FC in the USL Pro Standings. The Blues dropped to 9-15-0 (27 points) and are in ninth place.
The top eight teams in the USL Pro Division will advance to the postseason.
The combination of Cuevas and Kelly has proven to be prolific of late. Kelly has four goals in his last five matches, while Cuevas has two goals and three assists since his return to the Lowcountry.
Cuevas, who began the season with the Fresno Fuego, of the Professional Development League, has sparked a lethargic Battery attack over the past three weeks. His play-making ability also has opened the field up for Kelly.
"I think it took us a couple of matches to get our chemistry back to where it was the last couple of years," Cuevas said. "Dane is a completely different player this year than he was last year. He's much smarter, he knows when to make his runs and I've always enjoyed playing with a guy up top who has some pace."
Cuevas, who scored on a penalty kick in the first half, assisted on both of Kelly's goals.
"It didn't take long for Jose and I to get back on the same page," said Kelly, who has two multi-goal games since Cuevas returned to the lineup.
It was a huge win for the Battery, which is still battling for a playoff spot.
"It's a huge three points," Charleston Battery coach Mike Anhaeuser said. "We're still fighting for a playoff spot, so every point is going to be crucial. We kind of let (Orange County) back into the game, but we were able to close it out and get the three points."
It will be a quick turnaround for the Battery, which faces Rochester on Friday night at Blackbaud Stadium.
"We got the win, so the guys are going to have the confidence and the buzz to get ready for Rochester," Anhaeuser said. "It's going to be a light training session (Thursday) and see where guys are and put our best team out there."
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