Battery’s Sanyang, Cuevas should play

Brad Nettles/Staff ¬ Pittsburgh goalie Richard Gilstrap knocks the ball away as the Battery's Amadou Sanyang (23) goes for the header.

As Charleston Battery coach Mike Anhaeuser walked off Blackbaud Stadium field last Friday night after the team’s 1-0 win over Pittsburgh, he wasn’t in a celebratory mood.

The veteran coach was more concerned about the health of two key midfielders — Amadou Sanyang and Jose Cuevas.

Both were forced to leave the game against the Riverhounds, and their status for any future games appeared to be in jeopardy. Both Sanyang and Cuevas limped off the field with icebags on their legs.

“They are such important players, huge parts of our team, and they’d both been playing at a very high level,” Anhaeuser said. “It’s kind of hard to feel too happy about a win when you’ve got two key guys that could be out of the lineup for an extended period of time.”

While the two have been limited in practice during the week, both took part in a full training session on Thursday morning and are expected to play when the Battery hosts Antigua at 7:30 p.m. at Blackbaud Stadium.

Cuevas, who leads the team in scoring with two goals and two assists, injured his ankle in the 64th minute after a hard tackle by Riverhounds defender Sterling Flunder.

“Jose is so creative and has great field vision,” Anhaeuser said. “When he gets the ball in space, he’s very dangerous. This is his first pro season, so he’s still learning the game, but he’s doing very well.”

Sanyang has been an anchor as the Battery’s holding midfielder.

“Amadou does all the dirty work,” Anhaeuser said. “He challenges guys, he’s very good in the air for a midfielder and he has the ability to go forward and create some scoring chances.”

The Barracudas (2-2-0, 6 points) have two of the most potent strikers in the USL Pro Division in Stefan Smith and Peter Byers. Smith leads the USL Pro Division with eight points and four goals. Byers has a goal and three assists.

“Antigua is going to push the ball forward and we’ve got to be aware of Smith and Byers are at all times,” Anhaeuser said. “They like to attack and we like to push the ball forward, so this should be an entertaining game.”