The Battery are on the road this weekend for a matchup with Hartford Athletic on Saturday, July 20th at 5:00 PM at Dillon Stadium.
The Battery were 2-1 winners against Hartford Athletic in Week 2 of USL Championship action on March 16th at MUSC Health Stadium. Zeiko Lewis scored his first goal for the Battery in the 17th minute, combining with Romario Piggott in a quick one-two just outside the box. Piggott lofted a perfect pass over the top of the Hartford defense and Lewis beat Jacob Lissek low at the near post.
Dante Marini doubled the Battery's lead in the 73rd minute after coming for Piggott in the 63rd minute of play. It was Marini's first goal since returning from a knee injury that forced him to miss the entire 2018 USL Championship season. Ian Svantesson battled two Hartford defenders before having a shot from the left side of the box. Lissek made the initial save on Svantesson but couldn't control the rebound and Marini was first to the loose ball.
Phil Rasmussen would pull one back for Hartford in the 83rd minute after converting on a penalty. Angelo Kelly was called for the penalty after Vincenzo Candela's clearance inadvertently hit the midfielder's arm in the box.
What to Watch For
Hartford had a brutal start to their inaugural season in the USL Championship playing their first eight games on the road while their home venue, Dillon Stadium, was undergoing renovations.
Four of Athletics first eight matches were against the current top four teams in the East (Tampa Bay Rowdies, New York Red Bulls II, Indy Eleven, and North Carolina FC). In those four matches, Hartford allowed fourteen goals while only scoring one. Hartford has been much better at home playing to a 2-3-3 record with quality wins against St. Louis FC and Indy Eleven.
Danny Barrera, who leads the team in assists (3) played a crucial role in the teams 2-1 win against Indy on July 13th assisting on each one of Hartford goal. The former Fresno FC and Sacramento Republic FC midfielder brings veteran experience and leadership to the young club and will look to lift Hartford from the bottom of the table in an improved second half of the season.
It's been a long break between matches for the Battery as their last two games against Memphis 901 FC and Atlanta United 2 were postponed due to poor weather conditions.
Leading goalscorer Zeiko Lewis will have his eyes set on goal against a Hartford team that has conceded 46 goals on the season. Lewis was on the scoresheet for Charleston in the teams previous meeting and continues to be the Battery's most dynamic attacker. The return of Ataulla Guerra should alleviate some of the offensive pressure put on Lewis' shoulders, allowing the Bermuda international to showcase his playmaking ability.
Defense has been the identity of the Charleston Battery in recent years and a positive result Saturday could kickstart a strong second-half run. Captain Taylor Mueller enters Saturday's match with 195 career appearances for the Battery sitting third all-time amongst Battery players. Mueller leads the Battery in clearances (69), blocked shots (12), and has played every minute in each of the three Battery shutouts.
Hartford Athletic: USL Championship Record, 3-13-4
Goals: Angulo (4)
Assists: Barrera (3)
Chances Created: Jorgensen (24)
Saves: Due (38)
Clean Sheets: N/A
Charleston Battery: USL Championship Record 5-4-8
Goals: Lewis (5)
Assists: Higashi (3)
Chances Created: Lewis (22)
Saves: Kuzminsky (40)
Clean Sheets: Kuzminsky (3)