The Charleston Battery travel away this week to face Birmingham Legion FC on Wednesday, April 27. Kickoff at Protective Stadium is slated for 8 p.m. ET.
Wednesday’s fixture will be the first meeting between Charleston and Birmingham since 2020, when Legion FC won 1-2 at Patriots Point. The all-time series is even at 1-1-1 since 2019 and the Battery won the inaugural meeting 3-1 in Charleston.
Birmingham secured their second victory of the season on Sunday in a 1-2 away result over Loudoun United FC. A relatively quiet match through the first half, the action picked up in the later stages of the game. Enzo Martinez and Amadou Diop found the back of the net for Birmingham in the 62nd and 79th minute, respectively, to break the game open. Loudoun, however, looked to stage a comeback, retaliating with a goal of their own in the 80th minute via Abdoul Zanne. Birmingham would hold to secure the three points in Virginia.
Charleston snapped a losing streak on Saturday, taking a point from Louisville City FC in a 1-1 draw at Patriots Point. Mauro Cichero scored his second goal in as many games to put the Battery ahead midway through the first half. The goal was a result of Charleston’s high-pressure offense, with Andrew Booth intercepting the ball deep in Louisville’s defensive third before connecting with Cichero. Louisville equalized in the second half but the draw was a welcome turn in fortune for the Battery to build off of as they enter the middle phase of the season.
Following Saturday’s match, Booth now leads the Battery in chances created with seven. Cichero also elevated himself to being Charleston’s co-leader in scoring with two goals, tied with Augustine Williams.
Wednesday will be the Battery’s first trip to Protective Stadium, where Legion FC are playing their first season after residing at PNC Field the previous three years.
Both Charleston and Birmingham are operating on quick turnarounds for Wednesday’s game after playing Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
Ones to watch
Fans will recall Martinez from his Charlotte Independence days and the Uruguayan appears to be finding a footing with his new club. Martinez tallied a goal and an assist in their victory over Loudoun and was named the contest’s USLChampionship.com Player of the Match. On the year, Martinez leads his team in assists (2) and chances created (17). Expect the veteran playmaker to have an important role in the return to Protective Stadium.
Booth has made progress in each match of his first season in the USL Championship. Saturday saw the midfielder a prominent contributor to the squad against Louisville, tallying the assist after his high press led directly to Mauro Cichero’s goal. On the day, Andrew recorded three key passes and six recoveries, while earning a player rating of 8.0 (out of 10) from FotMob.com, the highest on the Battery. Look for Booth to continue that form on the road.
From the training ground
The Battery were back at training on Monday after a day of recovery on Sunday. The squad will continue to train before flying to Alabama on Tuesday.
Heading into Alabama, the team will aim to build on the positives from Saturday’s draw.
“I think we played, for a good chunk of the game, the way that we want to play,” said Head Coach Conor Casey. “We’ll take [the point], we’ll take some of that confidence and the good things we did well in the game and bring that with us into Wednesday.”
Both Birmingham and Charleston have had similar starts to the year and Coach Casey expects the hosts to be a strong opponent.
“[Birmingham] are, defensively, quite solid and they have some speed up front that can hurt you,” said Coach Casey. “They have some good experience as well, but we want to go there and put in a good performance.”
This is not the first short timeline for the team this year, so the squad is making sure to stay fit and sharp ahead of the action.
“It’s a quick turnaround to Birmingham in a couple of days,” said Joe Schmidt. “The focus is on getting good rest, eating well, getting the body feeling good and ready to go.”
Schmidt, who is one of six players in their first seasons as a professional, said the move up to the USL Championship has been difficult at times but he’s embracing the challenge.
“It’s been a tough transition for sure, but I think this is the best place in the league to be,” said Schmidt. “Great locker room, the coaching staff has been helpful, they always give me good feedback. Just trying to learn and improve every day.”
As of posting, Dominic Oduro and Benji Ettienne are questionable, and Preston Kilwien, DZ Harmon, Enock Kwakwa, Kyle Holcomb, Matteo Ritaccio and AJ Paterson are out.
Birmingham Legion FC vs. Charleston Battery
Wednesday, April 27 – 8:00 p.m. ET Kickoff
HOW TO WATCH:
The club is hosting the next Battery Watch Party at Home Team BBQ in downtown Charleston! Join the staff and supporters cheer on the Black and Yellow from afar. Start time for the watch party is 7 p.m., one hour ahead of kickoff.
Can’t make it to Home Team BBQ? All Battery matches will stream on ESPN+ domestically and through the league’s YouTube channel for free internationally.