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Match Preview: Charleston Battery v North Carolina FC

By Evan Peters, 09/21/19, 8:15AM EDT

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The Battery are set to host North Carolina FC in a Sunday afternoon match at MUSC Health Stadium, tomorrow, at 2:00 PM.

The Battery are coming off a tough loss against Atlanta United 2 on Wednesday night and will look to get back to winning ways against their Carolina rivals. Nico Rittmeyer scored his first goal of the season to level things in Kennesaw, but the Battery would concede two second-half goals to Andrew Carleton and Jack Metcalf in the 3-1 loss.

North Carolina FC are coming off an equally disappointing loss to Swope Park in a 1-0 defeat last Saturday. NCFC have been a strong side this season but their recent form have seen the Cary based club drop three of their last five and take one point through their last three. Those teams faced have a combined record of 18-45-19 with a goal differential of -54.

Ian Svantesson led the charge against North Carolina FC on March 30th, opening the scoring in the 69th minute. Zeiko Lewis provided the final ball to put the forward through on goal and Svantesson slipped his shot past goalkeeper Alex Tambakis.

The Battery looked as if they'd take three points before Tommy McCabe scored a wonderful volley from outside the box in the final minute of stoppage time. There always seems to be some late-game drama between the two sides including a wild finish at Sahlen's in 2018.

Southern Derby Cup - USL Championship points aside, the two clubs will be playing for the 2019 Southern Derby Cup on Sunday afternoon. Charleston and North Carolina are tied on five points with NCFC holding a slight advantage due to goal differential. Charleston must win in order to hoist the cup while North Carolina only need a draw.  

Playoff Watch - Six matches remain on the Battery's regular-season schedule starting with Sunday's match. Charleston can finish the regular season with a maximum of 53 points and, as of Friday afternoon, the Tampa Bay Rowdies hold the fourth spot with 53 points.

Birmingham's 1-0 win over Indy Eleven on Friday creates a four-point gap between the Legion and the Battery who currently sit 10th and 11th, respectively. Charleston must take three points on Sunday to keep pace with Birmingham in a playoff race that figures to come down to the final weeks of the season.

Charleston's visit to Birmingham on October 5th is setting up to be the most important match of the Battery's season. The Black and Yellow were 3-1 winners against the Legion at MUSC Health Stadium on June 8th with Romario Piggott, Arthur Bosua, and AJ Paterson all on the scoresheet.

Saint Louis have distanced themselves from the Battery after winning five straight which include an impressive 2-0 win over New York Red Bulls II. Saint Louis are six points clear of the playoff line and will look to strengthen their position on Saturday.

North Carolina look like a lock for postseason play but haven't officially clinched a spot. NCFC have been fantastic at home this season playing to an 8-1-5 record, and play three of their last four at Sahlen's.    

We'll be honoring all of our local first responders with a free ticket to Sunday's match! (valid ID must be presented at the ticket window). Tickets for Sunday's match against North Carolina FC are on sale and can be purchased online or by calling (843) 971-GOAL.

Charleston Battery: USL Championship Record, 8-9-11

(Home: 5-2-7)

Team Leaders

Goals: Lewis (6)

Assists: Higashi (4)

Chances Created: Lewis (29)

Saves: Kuzminsky (71)

Clean Sheets: Kuzminsky (6)

North Carolina FC: USL Championship Record, 13-8-8

(Away: 5-7-3)

Team Leaders

Goals: Miller (9)

Assists: Miller (6)

Chances Created: Speas (58)

Saves: Tambakis (75)

Clean Sheets: Tambakis (6)

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