After another pre-match deluge and delayed kick off, it was Rangers who prevailed in a long awaited friendly with the Charleston Battery by a score of 2-1. Jason Windass and Harry Forrester were amongst the goals for the visitors, whilst Attaulah Guerra’s first goal for the Battery late on proved a consolation.
Before the match kicked off, the two honorary captains, Helen and Doug DeLong participated in the coin toss. There was also a special video message played on the jumbotron from the Men in Blazers for Doug, as he prepares for surgery to have a brain tumor removed. We wish him the best of luck.
The match also featured former US international Oguchi Onyewu, who’s on trial with Rangers as he prepares to work his way back to fitness after missing all of last year through injury.
Quinton Griffith earned the Battery’s first corner of the evening on 13 minutes, when his pace got him to the byline and his eventual cross was blocked. The set piece was cleared for another, but it eventually led to nothing.
A ball played through toward Dante Marini from a free kick almost led to a half chance, but the ball was too long for the winger to catch up to, and was collected by the ‘keeper, Wes Foderingham.
Odisnel Cooper was forced into his first save of the evening when Kenny Miller shot from just outside the box on 20′. Cooper struggled to hold on, maybe down to the conditions, but the ball was cleared.
Rangers midfielder Josh Windass got through the Battery defense after weaving his way past his marker on 24′, but his shot was saved. Rangers were creating chances, with Windass himself being one of the focal points, along with Miller, but the net hadn’t yet bulged.
Four minutes later, Andy Halliday would get through on the break for a 1-on-1 with Cooper, but his shot had too much pace on it and went narrowly wide at the far post.
And then, for all of Rangers’ chances, the Battery had one of their own. A ball through over the top found Ricky Garbanzo, who had beaten the ‘keeper to the ball. Garbanzo flicked the ball up in an attempt to chip, but the ball hit the post and stayed out.
And so, at half time, it was all square between the two sides. Rangers were indeed the better team, as you’d expect, but the delay in the weather made it difficult for either team to really play to their full potential.
10 subs were made at half time by the Battery, with Taylor Mueller the only one to remain on. Zach Prince, Alex Tambakis, Chris Tsonis, Forrest Lasso, and four Atlanta United loanees, including homegrown signing Andrew Carleton and Jeffery Otoo. Patrick Okonkwo, who plays for Atlanta United’s academy, also made an appearance.
It was the latter who would earn the first chance of the second half, after receiving the ball from out on the wing. He held the ball up in the middle of the box, turned, and shot wide of the target. He will say he should’ve done better, maybe panicking a little with the defender on his back.
Kenny Miller had a chance at the other end on 52′, when his header went just wide of goal. The striker had been everywhere, making things happen on and off the ball, and was one of Rangers’ best players on the night.
But the deadlock was finally broken when Rangers countered and got the ball to the byline on the right through O’Halloran, who found Miller, whose shot was saved, but the rebound was pounced upon by Josh Windass and the score was 1-0 in the 58th. It was no more than the away side deserved, and the game probably needed a goal for fear of just petering out a little bit in the second half.
Rangers would add to their goal in the 78th, when Harry Forrester was given time and space to shoot, and the effort dinged off the post and in. It was an impressive strike that beat Tambakis in goal all ends up, but the defending really should have been better for the Battery.
Though the Battery got a little bit of consolation with eight minutes to go, with a ball through finding Attaulah Guerra on the right edge of the box. He had nowhere to go, as his defender was covering the angle for a cross, but gave him space enough to try a half volley from a seemingly impossible angle, that somehow found its way into the back of the net. The goal is Guerra’s first for the Battery, and maybe he’ll say it was worth the wait.
The match ended shortly after, with both teams having vastly different 11s to the ones that started the match. However, this match was somewhat important to the Rangers players, it being their only preseason game before they have a first round tie in the Scottish Cup, so fitness was always key.
The Battery are in action away to Louisville City as they return to league play on Saturday, July 9th. Kick off is at 7:30PM
TOP IMAGE: BOTH TEAMS POSE FOR A GROUP PHOTO BEFORE KICKOFF OF WEDNESDAY’S FRIENDLY. ALL PHOTOS CREDIT ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY.