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Veteran coaches lead USL PRO finalists
by Paul Kennedy, September 6th, 2012 9:18PM

TAGS:  usl


[PREVIEW] The Charleston Battery and Wilmington Hammerheads, two of the oldest clubs in the USL, meet for the 2012 USL PRO title Saturday night at Blackbaud Stadium.  Both head coaches have ties with their respective clubs dating back to the 1990s,  Charleston's Mike Anhaeuser has been with the Battery for all but one of its 20 seasons as a player or coach. Englishman David Irving has been the Hammerheads boss since their third season in 1998.

(Click here for live coverage of the final Saturday at 7:30 pm ET.)

HOW THEY GOT HERE. The No. 3 seed in the playoffs, the Battery rallied from a 1-0 deficit to beat the Harrisburg City Islanders, 2-1, on two late first-half goals in the quarterfinals, and then prevailed in a shootout at the No. 2 seed Rochester Rhinos after their semifinal ended 1-1.

PAST TITLES. The Battery won the USL Pro League in 1996 and USL A-League in 2003 before moving down a level in 2010 to join the USL Second Division, which it won the same year.

KEY PLAYERS. Jose Cuevas named a finalist for USL PRO Rookie of the Year after a superb start to his pro career with seven goals and five assists. Scottish midfielder Nicki Paterson was also an All-USL PRO first-team all-league pick. Andrew Dykstra was the starting goalie for MLS's Chicago Fire for most of the 2010 season. Veteran striker Tony Donatelli, whose header tied the semifinal at Rochester in stoppage time, won USL First Division titles with Vancouver and Montreal.

COACH. Mike Anhaeuser, a product of Indiana University, joined the Battery as a player in 1994 and retired after injuring his knee in 1999. He was then an assistant until being named head coach in 2005. He also holds the title of general manager.

26 Andrew Dykstra (USA)
23 Kevin Klasila (USA)
23 Cody Ellison (USA)
27 Colin Falvey (Ireland)
34 John Wilson (USA)
24 Mark Wiltse (USA)
22 Kyle Hoffer (USA)
23 Taylor Mueller (USA)
25 Michael Azira (Uganda)
27 Nicki Paterson (Scotland)
21 Amadou Sanyang (Gambia)
24 J.C. Mack (USA)
23 Charles Romero (USA)
28 Tony Donatelli (USA)
23 Jose Cuevas (USA)
23 Ryan Richter (USA)
24 Zach Prince (USA)

HOW THEY GOT HERE. The Hammerheads, who only qualified for the playoffs on the final day of the regular season, won twice on the road to reach the final. They beat the Richmond Kickers, 3-2, and then raced out to a 3-0 lead over the defending champion and No. 1 seed Orlando City before holding on for a 4-3 win.

PAST TITLES. The Hammerheads won the 2003 USL Pro Select League, one of several names for what would become the USL Second Division, a third division league from which a nucleus of the current USL PRO was formed.

KEY PLAYERS. Corey Hertzog left Penn State after his junior year to sign with the New York Red Bulls but he played only five games in MLS before joining the Hammerheads on loan in May. He led Wilmington with nine goals in the regular season and scored twice against Orlando in the semifinals. Troy Hernandez stepped in for the injured Alex Howarth in goal early in the quarterfinal match against Richmond. Welshman Gareth Evans has anchored the Wilmington defense for the second year in a row. Midfielder Bryce Taylor, who joined the Hammerheads from the Mississippi Brilla, is a candidate for Rookie of the Year. Midfielder Hagop Chirishian, one of several players brought in from the PDL's Ventura County Fusion, scored in both playoff games.

COACH. Englishman David Irving, who played four years in the old NASL, notably three years for the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers, has been the face of the Hammerheads, having coached them since their launch in 1998.

25 Troy Hernandez (Canada)
25 Alex Howarth(USA)

26 Troy Cole (USA)
22 Christian Davidson (Wales)
25 Gareth Evans (Wales) 
23 Tyler Lassiter (USA)
25 Dylan Riley (USA)
22 Charles Rodriguez (USA)
30 Mark Briggs (England)
22 Hagop Chirishian (USA)
25 Yahaya Musa (Australia/USA)
26 Tom Parratt (Scotland)
23 Bryce Taylor (USA)
26 Manny Guzman (Mexico/USA)
26 Paul Nicholson (England)
22 Corey Hertzog (USA, on loan from New York Red Bulls)
22 Luke Holmes (England)
23 Andres Cuero (USA)
23 Steve Perry (USA)
24 Cody Arnoux (USA)
30 Andriy Budnyy (Ukraine)

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