The Charleston Battery are up in Leesburg, Virginia for their midweek clash with Loudoun United. This will be the first-ever meeting between the two sides as Loudoun United play in their inaugural season in the USL Championship.
Loudoun United went back and forth with Charlotte in a 3-3 draw last Friday night. All six goals were scored in a span of forty-one minutes beginning in the 38th minute when Valentin Sabella put the Independence up 0-1. Harri Hawkins would grab a late first-half goal to level the scoring at 1-1 going into the break. Jorge Herrera and Antonio Bustamante traded the teams second goals and Dominic Oduro put Charlotte up 2-3 in the 70th minute. Carlos Alvarez scored his first goal of the season to end the high scoring affair, earning a point for his Loudoun side in the 79th minute.
Jarad can Schaik scored his third goal of the season against St. Louis but Sam Fink’s penalty kept Charleston from earning what would have been an important road win. Van Schaik’s acrobatic goal came in the 37th minute following a short corner and a cross into the box from Zeiko Lewis. The ball arrived in a crowded penalty area and took a favorable bounce near Van Schaik. With his back to goal van Schaik curled in a beauty beating goalkeeper Tomas Gomez. Russell Cicerone drew a penalty after a foul in the box from Tah Brian Anunga in the 67th minute and Fink converted on the attempt for his fifth goal of the season.
Feast or Famine – Loudoun United can be very dangerous in the attacking third, scoring three goals in six matches this season. Loudoun United can also struggle mightily in the attacking third, going scoreless in six matches this season. Which Loudoun United side will show up for tonight’s match against the Battery? Manager Ryan Martin will be hoping for the dangerous Loudoun as the team currently sits 14th in the Eastern Conference table, just six points off the final playoff spot occupied by a surging Birmingham Legion side.
In matches where Loudoun have hit the three-goal mark, they have picked up 14 of their total 20 points with a +8 goal differential, with quality wins over New York Red Bulls II and Louisville City. As you might expect, Loudoun have only managed 1 point out of their matches where they have failed to score, finishing with a -10 goal differential.
A Quick-Start – It is critically important for the Battery to get out on the front foot tonight against Loudoun United. Charleston have won 6 of 11 matches when opening the scoring and have only lost once. On the flip side, the Battery are winless when conceding first, playing out to a 0-4-4 record in eight matches. That said, Coach Anhaeuser is one of the best in the league at making halftime adjustments. The Black and Yellow have scored 20 of their 27 goals this season in the second half with 8 of those coming between the 71st and 80th minutes.
Thirteen points separate 8th place Ottawa from 14th place Loudoun as we move towards the business end of the season. Loudoun and Charleston have played the least amount of games of those teams sitting 8th – 14th with 19 games and 20 games respectively. Both teams will look at tonight’s match hoping to strengthen their playoff positioning. A victory for Loudoun will mean moving closer to the 10th spot while three points for Charleston adds a bit of a cushion between those teams coming up the bottom of the table.
Loudoun United: USL Championship Record, 5-9-5
Goals: Murphy (5)
Assists: Bustamante, Murphy (3)
Chances Created: Bustamante (26)
Saves: Brown (35)
Clean Sheets: Edwards Jr. (2)
Charleston Battery: USL Championship Record, 6-5-9
Goals: Lewis (6)
Assists: Higashi, Lewis (3)
Chances Created: Lewis (24)
Saves: Kuzminsky (51)
Clean Sheets: Kuzminsky (3)