The Charleston Battery take on Atlanta United 2 on the road in Kennesaw on July 5th at Fifth Third Bank Stadium at 7:30 PM. The teams played to a 1-1 draw at MUSC Health Stadium at the end of May.
Anderson Asiedu, USL Championship
In their last outing, Atlanta United 2 suffered a 2-1 defeat to Loudoun United FC. Christian Sorto scored two goals on his way to Player of the Week Honors while Guillermo Benitez pulled one back late for ATLUTD2.
Sorto would put Loudoun up 1-0 following a brilliant solo goal, dancing through three Atlanta defenders inside the box and beating Dylan Castanheira with a well-placed shot. Benitez would cut the deficit in the 87th minute with an equally impressive shot from a difficult angle but it was too little too late for ATLUTD2.
Zeiko Lewis, Arthur Ellis Photography
It was a quiet first half between Charleston and New York in their latest encounter at MUSC Health Stadium. Midfielder Tah Brian Anunga picked up a straight red card minutes before half time and would set up an open second half that resulted in a 1-1 draw.
Nicque Daley opened the scoring for the Battery beating a high Red Bulls backline and holding off Preston Kilwien for his second goal of the season. New York found their goal in the 80th minute through Mathias Jorgensen who scored after finding a yard of space inside the box.
Tah Brian Anunga, Arthur Ellis Photography
Laurent Kissiedou scored for Atlanta, putting the visitors up 1-0 in the 71st minute. Luiz Fernando assisted on the play after driving down the left side of the box and playing a pass into Kissiedou who turned on defender Leland Archer and slipped a shot past Joe Kuzminsky at the right post.
The Battery would level the scoring eight minutes later through a wonderful goal from Zeiko Lewis, scoring off a corner in the 79th minute. Lewis curled his shot past goalkeeper Brendan Moore, who struggled to deal with a crowded penalty area and a perfect ball in from Lewis.
What to Watch For
The Return of Ataulla Guerra - Ataulla Guerra returned to training with the Battery prior to last week's match against New York Red Bulls II. Guerra led the Battery in goals scored during the 2018 season (15) but missed the first half of the 2019 campaign with travel related issues. Guerra was an unused substitute against the Red Bulls as he looks to build his fitness ahead of tomorrow's match against ATLUTD2.
Options in Attack - With the return of Ataulla Guerra, coach Anhaeuser has a number of weapons available in attack. Zeiko Lewis has made two substitute appearances since returning from Gold Cup duty with Bermuda, scoring the tying goal against Ottawa on June 26th. Ian Svantesson is available for selection this Saturday after serving a two-match suspension for his red card offense against Swope Park on June 22nd. Svantesson's four goals are good for second on the team, just one goal shy of sharing the team lead with Lewis.
Romario Piggott and Nicque Daley have showcased their ability to score in recent matches with Piggott netting two goals in the month of June and Daley putting a 10-man Battery side up 1-0 against New York last week.
Midseason Run - The Battery's next four opponents have a combined record of 9-36-19 before a rematch with Eastern Conference leaders, Tampa Bay Rowdies, at home on August 3rd. Three points on Friday could spark an early midseason run to put the Battery within striking distance of a top-four finish at seasons end.
Atlanta United 2: USL Championship Record, 3-9-4 (Home: 2-6-0)
Goals: Williams (3)
Assists: Kissiedou (3)
Chances Created: Metcalf (26)
Saves: Castanheira (41)
Clean Sheets: Castanheira, Moore (1)
Charleston Battery: USL Championship Record, 5-4-8 (Away: 1-4-2)
Goals: Lewis (5)
Assists: Higashi (3)
Chances Created: Lewis (22)
Saves: Kuzminsky (40)
Clean Sheets: Kuzminsky (3)