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Match Preview: Pittsburgh Riverhounds v Charleston Battery

By Evan Peters, 09/13/19, 1:45PM EDT

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The Battery take on the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at Highmark Stadium on Saturday, September 14th at 7:00 PM. It will be Charleston's second match in four days, both of which have been away.

Late game heroics from Zeiko Lewis and Nicque Daley earned the Battery a point against Pittsburgh on May 4th in a 2-2 draw at MUSC Health Stadium. Kevin Kerr and Kenardo Forbes put two past the Battery in the opening quarter-hour of the match and a strong Riverhounds defense kept the Battery at bay through the first half. Daley would draw a penalty in the 75th minute to begin the late comeback and Lewis converted on the ensuing penalty to cut the lead. Daley scored his first goal in a Battery shirt after a brilliant solo effort in the 81st minute, slipping past three Pittsburgh defenders before beating Kyle Morton with a curling shot from just inside the box.

After a pedestrian start to the season, in which the Riverhounds tied seven of their first eleven matches, Pittsburgh have found a way to win games in the second half of the season. Pittsburgh have won seven of their last nine and are one of three teams that still boast an undefeated home record (Indy Eleven and Phoenix Rising). The Riverhounds have shown that they are one of the most well-balanced teams in the league combining consistent attacking play with dominant defensive performances. Upfront, Neco Brett leads the line with 10 goals while fellow forward Steevan Dos Santos is closing in on double-digit goals for the second time in his USL Championship career. In the back, Joe Greenspan anchors a backline that has produced eleven clean sheets.   

Joe Kuzminsky has been one of the hottest goalkeepers in the USL Championship in recent weeks picking up his sixth clean sheet of the season in the Battery's 0-0 draw with Swope Park on Wednesday night. Kuzminsky has led the Black and Yellow to three consecutive shutouts and has made 15 saves over the course of that span. He's beginning to regain his 2018 form which saw him finish with twelve clean sheets and a 74.7% save success rate. Kuzminsky has eclipsed his save total from last season and a strong final eight games will be crucial to the Battery's postseason aspirations. 

Playoff Watch - The Birmingham Legion play host to Saint Louis FC Friday night and the Battery will be watching this one closely. Depending on tonight's result, Charleston has the chance to jump both teams and into 9th place.

Birmingham wins - A Legion win would move them ahead of Ottawa in the Eastern Conference table and prevent Charleston from being able to claim the 9th spot this weekend. However, a win for Birmingham would allow the Battery to split points with the Riverhounds on Saturday night and move into the 10th spot ahead of Saint Louis. 

Saint Louis wins - Saint Louis would jump Birmingham and put themselves one point behind Ottawa for the 8th spot. With this result, the Battery would need to take three points against Pittsburgh tomorrow night.

Birmingham and Saint Louis draw - This is what Charleston will be hoping for Friday night, as a win would see the Black and Yellow go above both teams into 9th place. A draw against Pittsburgh would keep the Battery level on points with Saint Louis while a loss would put them one point shy of the final spot.

Pittsburgh continues to battle with Nashville SC for the final home playoff spot. The Riverhounds are three points back of Nashville but have two games in hand heading into Saturday night's match with the Battery. Nashville are off this weekend and host Birmingham on September 17th, giving Pittsburgh a chance to move ahead of Nashville with a win on Saturday. The two teams square off on September 21st which would have major playoff implications.

The match will be broadcast on MyTVCharleston and streamed live on ESPN+. The Battery return home on September 22nd as they take on local state rivals North Carolina FC at 2:00 PM. Tickets are available for purchase online or by calling (843) 971-GOAL.

Pittsburgh Riverhounds: USL Championship Record, 13-4-9

(Home: 8-0-6)

Team Leaders

Goals: Brett (10)

Assists: Forbes (7)

Chances Created: Forbes (58)

Saves: Morton (37)

Clean Sheets: Morton (8)

Charleston Battery: USL Championship Record, 8-7-11

(Away: 3-5-4)

Team Leaders

Goals: Lewis (6)

Assists: Higashi (4)

Chances Created: Lewis (29)

Saves: Kuzminsky (70)

Clean Sheets: Kuzminsky (6)

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