24 Jul 2009
- Written by Andrew Miller (The Post and Courier)
- Hits: 672
Battery striker Randi Patterson is hoping this time to be a real pain in the neck for the Carolina RailHawks.
Two weeks ago, Patterson was ejected just 24 minutes into Charleston's 1-0 loss to the RailHawks when he kicked Carolina defender Caleb Norkus in the back of the head following a tussle for a loose ball.
Patterson contends the kick was unintentional and the referee overreacted by ejecting him.
"It definitely wasn't intentional," he said. "It was after a loose ball and (Norkus) was on the ground. I was trying to step over him and when I picked my foot up, he got up and my foot hit his head. It looked a lot worse than it really was, but I didn't do it intentionally. I thought in that situation, that early in the game, it was a tough call, but I've got to live with it."
Patterson hopes to make up for the red card in tonight's 7:30 match against the RailHawks at Blackbaud Stadium.
"I feel like I let my teammates down, so I want to redeem myself," he said. "We've got a good rivalry going with the RailHawks, so this is only going to add to that. There's a little extra incentive for me, and it kind of boils things up a little more."
That is bad news for Carolina, because Patterson has been on a tear, scoring six of his team-leading seven goals since June 9.
"Randi has really found his scoring touch the last month or so," coach Mike Anhaeuser said. "He's one of those players that when he scores one, they tend to come in bunches. He's a streaky player, and when he's on, he is a very dangerous player in the attacking third of the field."
Patterson will be leaned on heavily with several key players unavailable due to injuries and red cards.
Keeper Dusty Hudock, who leads the USL First Division with 11 shutouts, was red-carded last weekend at Rochester.
Hudock, who has allowed just four goals during league play, has a miniscule goals-against average of 0.48 in all competitions this year. Hudock will be replaced by former College of Charleston keeper Keith Wiggans, who is 1-1-1 this season.
"Dusty has played great all season. He's been dominant out there," Wiggans said. "The back four in front of him have been playing great, so I'm just going to try and not to mess anything up and do what I can to fill his shoes for the day.
"The guys in front of me have been playing so well it makes my job that much easier. They've been limiting the number of shots and scoring chances all season, and that's why we're at the top of the standings."
Defender John Wilson (foot), midfielders Ian Fuller (hamstring) and Kenji Treschuk (foot) and striker Darren Spicer (leg) will be unavailable because of injuries.
"We've been playing with a short bench for the last couple of games, so this isn't anything new for us," Anhaeuser said. "This is why you want as much depth as possible on your roster. We've had guys step up all season when we've had injuries and red cards."
Anhaeuser said rookie striker Tom Heinemann will take Spicer's place in the lineup. The 6-2, 180-pound former Division II All-American at Rockhurst University has played in 17 games, with four starts.
"Tom has deceptive speed for a big guy," Anhaeuser said. "Like a lot of rookies, he has played better and better as the season has gone on. It just takes time for guys coming out of college to adjust to the speed and skill of the professional game."
Stephen Armstrong and Tsuyoshi Yoshitake will start for the first time this season. Armstrong has battled an ankle injury all season, while Yoshitake, second on the team with three goals, has been slowed by a hamstring injury.
"I think that Stephen and Tsuyoshi are finally healthy," Anhaeuser said. "They haven't been on the field together very much, so this is going to give them a chance to develop some chemistry."