Kotaro Higashi battles with Rochester's Ryan James. Zach Bland photo.
Charleston Battery travel to St. Petersburg, Florida for their first ever match against the Tampa Bay Rowdies Saturday night. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30pm at Al Lang Stadium.
The Battery (3-1-0) are coming off a 5-0 drubbing of Rochester a week ago. Romario Williams scored a first-half hat-trick in twelve minutes against the Rhinos, bringing his 2017 goal total to four. Williams also added an assist in the match, linking up with Ataulla Guerra who scored his second goal in as many games. Maikel Chang scored Charleston’s fifth goal in the 82nd minute. Odisnel Cooper recorded a shutout in his first start of 2017.
Saturday’s match will be the Rowdies’ (3-1-1) third in seven days. Tampa Bay suffered their first loss of the season at the hands of Louisville City on April 15th then drew, 1-1, with FC Cincinnati at Nippert Stadium Wednesday night.
Tampa Bay currently sit in first place, tied with Louisville City and Saint Louis on ten points. Charleston are a point back from the league-leaders with a game in hand. The Battery are 1-0-0 on the road this season, defeating Charlotte Independence, 2-0, in their only match away from MUSC Health Stadium.
Tampa haven’t conceded a goal in their three games at Al Lang Stadium. The USL newcomers are 3-0-0 at home this season, outscoring opponents 6-0 in three matches.
Players to Watch
CHARLESTON - Ataulla Guerra will be looking to get on the scoresheet for the third consecutive game against the Rowdies Saturday night. Guerra and Romario Williams have proven to be a lethal combination in the attacking third; the two have six goals and an assist between them in the team’s four matches. Tampa Bay’s center backs will be busy trying to keep Williams at bay after his three-goal performance a week ago, which should free up Guerra to pick up the ball in dangerous positions.
TAMPA BAY - Former Chelsea man Joe Cole only played ten minutes in Tampa’s mid-week match against Cincinnati. Cole was likely rested with the game against Charleston in mind. The English midfielder was the only Rowdies player included in the NASL Best XI in 2016 and is off to a good start in his first USL season. Cole scored in Tampa’s 4-0 win over TFC II in week two and will be looking to get himself back on the scoresheet against the Battery.
How to Watch
The match will be live on My TV Charleston and charlestonbattery.com. Blind Tiger Pub is hosting a Charleston Battery vs Tampa Bay Rowdies watch party beginning at 7:00pm on the back patio. Head down to 36 Broad Street and hang out with Battery players and staff members as the boys try to earn three points in Tampa.