The Charleston Battery take on Atlanta United 2 (ATLUTD2) Saturday night at MUSC Health Stadium. It’s the first meeting between the two sides this season.
AJ Paterson, USL Championship
Last Time Out
The Battery lost their second match of the season 0-1 against Indy Eleven last Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium. It was a slow start to the match as both sides were coming off second-round U.S. Open Cup wins. Kotaro Higashi lead the Battery, attacking the Indy defense through the middle of the field. The Japanese forward looked for his teammates in the final third, but couldn't connect on any of his final passes. Taylor Mueller would provide the Battery with a half chance in the 53rd minute, heading a corner to the near post that was saved by Evan Newton.
Indy substitute Tyler Pasher would prove to be the difference in what looked to be a defensive stalemate. Pasher, who came on for Kenny Walker to begin the second half, made an immediate impact for Indy pressuring the Battery down the left wing. Forward Thomas Enevoldsen missed out on a golden opportunity to put Indy up 1-0 following a cross from Pasher late in the second half. Enevoldsen found himself in a pocket of space inside the box but his attempted header was high over the crossbar.
Pasher would eventually score the winning goal in the 84th minute following an attacking run down the left side. Battery defender Leland Archer forced Pasher towards the goal line where the Indy forward found a few yards of space. Pasher played a hard shot low across the box that Kuzminsky mishandled and the ball found its way into the back of the net.
ATLUTD2, USL Championship
ATLUTD2 split points with Swope Park Rangers on the road Saturday in Kansas City. Swope Park jumped on Atlanta from the start, forcing a turnover in Atlanta’s defensive third and scoring in the second minute. Felipe Hernandez stepped in front of a weak pass, playing the ball forward to teammate Ngom Mbekeli inside the Atlanta box. Hernandez found space in the box and Mbekeli was able to hold off a defender and push a pass into the path of Hernandez who finished with ease.
Laurence Wyke leveled things for Atlanta in the 68th minute following a failed clearance from Swope Park. Gordan Wild provided the cross that troubled the Swope Park defense with the weak clearance bouncing out towards the edge of the area. Wyke turned on the bouncing ball hitting a half volley and beating John Pulskamp at the near post.
The match finished 1-1 as ATLUTD2 keeper Dylan Castanheira claimed a Swope Park free kick in the sixth minute of stoppage time.
Heating Up in the East – Heading into Week 12 of USL Championship play the Battery occupy the in 9th spot in the Eastern Conference having earned 16 points through 10 matches. Eleven points separate the last playoff spot from conference leaders, Tampa Bay Rowdies. A win this week would push the Battery back into contention for a top-four spot, trailing Saint Louis FC by just 3 points.
ATLUTD2 take aim at the final playoff spot in the East, tied with Bethlehem Steel FC and Birmingham Legion FC on 12 points through 11 matches. The three clubs hold identical USL Championship records (3-5-3) and have all played to a 0-3-2 record over their last 5.
Friendly Foes - ATLUTD2 have several former Battery players that have featured for the USL Championship side this year, most notably Romario Williams and Gordon Wild. Williams leads ATLUTD2 in goals scored, netting 3 goals in four appearances for the club this year. Wild played in 33 matches for the Battery in 2018, scoring 7 goals and providing 3 assists. Wild was a substitute in ATLUTD2’s last match against Swope Park Rangers playing a part in the build-up to their equalizing goal.
On Saturday’s Match Against ATLUTD2; Our last couple matches have been against tough defensive teams. You know, Atlanta isn’t really a defensive team so it’s different. We have to try and get that offensive spark back, hopefully, in this game, we can get somewhere between 12 to 20 shots, but we have to create that. Hopefully, our forwards get their shooting boots back on.
On the ATLUTD2 Roster; There are main guys that play but you have to be ready, you know Romario [Williams] played both games. Carleton both games. You might get those players because they want them to play in good games in a good tough place on the road. If it is their young guys, they’re going work harder and come with that energy.
On Saturday’s Match Against ATLUTD2;I think I’ve got to step up a little in this game and lead the team in the back. We know a couple of their players well so I think we should be prepared as in knowing what they can do to hurt us. Whether they bring down their MLS players we should be ready for them.
Charleston Battery: USL Championship Record, 4-2-4 (Home: 3-0-3)
Goals: Lewis, Svantesson (3)
Assists: Lewis, Woodbine (2)
Chances Created: Lewis (19)
Saves: Kuzminsky (20)
Clean Sheets: Kuzminsky (3)
Atlanta United 2: USL Championship Record, 3-5-3 (Away: 1-1-3)
Goals: Williams (3)
Assists: Asiedu, Kissiedou (2)
Chances Created: Metcalf (18)
Saves: Castanheira (20)
Clean Sheets: Castanheira, Moore (1)