The Battery take on the Tampa Bay Rowdies Saturday night at MUSC Health Stadium at 7:30 PM. Charleston remains undefeated at home and will look to extend their streak against a formidable Tampa Bay Rowdies side who top the Eastern Conference with 43 points.
The Battery earned a hard-fought point against the Rowdies at Al Lang Stadium on June 15th.
Nicque Daley wasted no time in showcasing his explosive speed, catching the Rowdies backline sleeping fifty seconds into the match. The Jamaican forward held off Abdoulaye Diakite in route to goal but Daley pushed his shot inches past the right post. Kotaro Higashi and Vincenzo Candela forced two quick saves from goalkeeper John McCarthy fifteen minutes later as the Battery looked for the opening goal. Higashi found a pocket of space down the left side firing a low shot on target. McCarthy's save was pushed out to the top of the box where Candela connected with the rolling ball in what was a fairly comfortable save for the Rowdies keeper.
Sebastian Guenzatti scored his 7th goal of the season putting the Rowdies up 1-0 in the 39th minute. Guenzatti found himself on the receiving end of a Malik Johnson pass and danced past Taylor Mueller before beating Joe Kuzminsky. Guenzatti had a chance to double the lead for his side but slipped while taking a shot from just outside the box in the 57th minute. The Rowdies continued to pressure the Battery after forcing a turnover in the 71st minute just outside the Battery penalty area. Juan Tejada intercepted a pass and found David Najem inside the box but Najems strike was high and wide.
Ian Svantesson was the hero for Charleston scoring his 4th goal of the season in the 88th minute following a set piece a few yards into the Battery's attacking third. Jarad van Schaik lofted the free-kick into the box where Arthur Bosua rose up above the Rowdies defense and sent a headed pass across the box in Svantesson's direction. With an outstretched leg, Svantesson redirected Bosua's pass past McCarthy at the far post.
What to Watch For
The Battery return to MUSC Health Stadium where they haven't played a USL Championship match since June 29th in a 1-1 draw against New York Red Bulls II. It will be interesting to see how the Battery respond to having three of their last four matches postponed and rescheduled. In the Battery's lone match played in July, the Battery handed Hartford Athletic their 14th loss of the season in a 3-2 win.
Supersub Dante Marini scored the game-winning goal for the Battery against Hartford and now has three goals on the season. It was his second goal against Hartford this season, his first coming in a 2-1 win at MUSC Health Stadium on March 16th. All three of Marini's goals have come in substitute appearances and all three have proven to be game-winners.
Much like the Battery, the Rowdies are led by one of the best defensive backlines in the league. The Rowdies defense has produced nine shutouts on the season; conceding just 15 goals in 21 matches.
Earlier in the season, the Rowdies went 469 minutes without allowing a goal, going unbeaten in 5 straight matches. During the streak, the Rowdies picked up quality wins against Nashville SC and New York Red Bulls II while taking a point in a scoreless draw against Indy Eleven.
Defender Abdoulaye Diakite leads the USL Championship in clearances (121) and has played every minute in 20 starts for the club this season. Diakite has won 14 of 17 tackles and 113 of 173 duels on his way to a midseason Defender of the Year nomination.
Charleston Battery: USL Championship Record, 6-4-8
Goals: Lewis (6)
Assists: Higashi, Lewis (3)
Chances Created: Lewis (23)
Saves: Kuzminsky (45)
Clean Sheets: Kuzminsky (3)
Tampa Bay Rowdies: USL Championship Record, 12-2-7
Goals: Guenzatti (12)
Assists: Fernandes (5)
Chances Created: Fernandes (36)
Saves: McCarthy (49)
Clean Sheets: McCarthy (9)