The Charleston Battery square off against Birmingham Legion on Saturday night at MUSC Health Stadium at 7:30 PM. The two sides will face off for the first time since Birmingham joined the USL Championship prior to the start of the 2019 season.
Arthur Bosua, USL Championship
The Battery suffered a 4-1 defeat to Louisville City FC last Saturday at Slugger Field. It was the Battery's third loss of the season, all of which have come on the road.
The Battery conceded an early goal in the third minute before being reduced to 10-men following a Kierron Mason red card in the 19th minute of play. Magnus Rasmussen converted the ensuing penalty to double Louisville's lead.
Arthur Bosua scored his second goal of the season following a corner five minutes into the second half. Candela's cross was over the head of Kyle Nelson and Bosua was able to direct the ball past Louisville's keeper.
A double deflection own goal sealed the Battery's fate in the 74th minute. Rasmussen took a shot from the edge of the box deflecting off of Romario Piggott before hitting Dante Marini and beating Kuzminsky at the near post. Niall McCabe scored Louisville's fourth late in the match following a free kick from 21 yards outside the box.
Chandler Hoffman, USL Championship
Birmingham were the latest Eastern Conference side to fall to the Tampa Bay Rowdies last Saturday at BBVA Compass Field. It was the fifth loss in seven home matches for the Legion who will be hoping for a better result against the Battery on Saturday.
Sebastian Guenzatti opened the scoring for the Battery in the 28th minute. Andrew Tinari found Guenzatti open in the middle of the penalty area and the forward finished one a first-time shot, low into the bottom corner of the net.
Tinari would double the Rowdies lead a minute before halftime. Malik Johnson was able to control a long cross into the far post, drawing a Birmingham defender towards the goalline. Johnson played the ball back towards the middle of the box where Tanari beat goalkeeper Matt Van Oekel after his shot deflected off defender Kyle Culbertson.
What to Watch For
Big Hoff - Chandler Hoffman is one of the USL Championship's most decorated goal scorers. Hoffman sits third all-time in goals scored in the USL Championship (62), hitting double-digit goals in three straight seasons. Prior to joining Birmingham at the start of 2019, Hoffman spent the last two season with Real Monarchs scoring 29 goals in 67 appearances (60 starts).
In 2016 Chandler lead Louisville City FC to a second place finish in the East and a birth in the Eastern Conference Semi-finals. They would fall to eventual USL Championshions, New York Red Bulls II, 4-3 on penalties. Hoffman finished the season with 15 goals on the season, leading all Louisville players.
Call Up's and Recalls - The Charleston Battery are without key starters Zeiko Lewis and Leland Archer. The pair have received international call ups to represent Bermuda and Trinidad and Tobago ahead of the 2019 Gold Cup. Lewis has scored four goals for the Battery this season while leading the team in chances created (22).
Birmingham will be without Zach Herivaux who will represent Haiti in the Gold Cup and J.J. Williams was recalled by Major League Soccer side Columbus Crew. Williams shares the team lead for goals scored alongside Chandler Hoffman and Prosper Kasim.
"We want to regroup and we're back at home where we haven't lost. This is a great place to be. There have been a few little things that we've been working on defensively but the big thing is we're back here where we create a lot of chances.
We'll be able to get the ball forward a bit more and do less defending. They are a possession team so it's something we'll worry about, they like to pass the ball, they like to keep control of it, and they'll try to out-possess you."
Jarad van Schaik
"Tough game [Louisville]. Honestly, I think we made a few costly mistakes kinda giving the ball away in tough spots and we got punished, they are a good team."
We're going to treat it like any other match. We have to come out focused, extra focused coming off this last week. We've got an Open Cup game coming up as well but you can't look past anyone in this league because thats when you get punched in the mouth."
Charleston Battery: USL Championship Record, 4-3-5 (Home: 3-0-4)
Goals: Lewis (4)
Assists: Lewis, Woodbine (2)
Chances Created: Lewis (22)
Saves: Kuzminsky (29)
Clean Sheets: Kuzminsky (3)
Birmingham Legion, USL Championship Record, 3-6-3 (Away: 2-1-2)
Goals: Hoffman, Kasim, Williams (2)
Assists: Avila, Culbertson, Kobayashi (2)
Chances Created: Johnson, Kasim (14)
Saves: Van Oekel (23)
Clean Sheets: Van Oekel (2)