After a hard-earned week long break, the Battery host The Miami FC Sunday at 6:00 p.m. in a crucial matchup as the Black and Yellow look to officially secure their postseason berth. Charleston are coming off of a dominant 1-0 win against Tampa Bay Rowdies where they were in total control from start to finish. Despite the commanding win and extending their undefeated streak, the Battery still sit six points behind the Rowdies in Group H, but with two games in hand after the Rowdies secured a win at the death Wednesday against an eliminated Atlanta United 2. All eyes are on Miami FC, though, as the Battery plan to replicate their performance over the south Florida squad the last time they visited Patriots Point. Any points in Sunday’s matchup secure a playoff spot for the Battery and will deal the eliminating blow to Miami.
Last time out, the Miami FC stole three points from Charleston late in the September 5th match at Riccardo Silva Stadium as Miguel Gonzalez leveled in the 86th minute to force the draw. Gonzalez stands as the only opposing player to score on Battery keeper Joe Kuzminksy this season, but the Battery back line has not conceded more than one goal in a match since August 15th. After the solid defensive performance against Tampa Bay, Charleston will look to contain the Miami attack and limit scoring opportunities yet again.
It’s all on the line for both teams on Sunday. The Miami FC will throw caution to the wind as they try to grind their way to secure three points and stay alive in the standings. And the Battery look to keep pace with Tampa Bay heading into the season’s final stretch with eyes on first place and home field advantage to start the playoffs. A win or draw on Sunday will lock in the Battery for a 13th consecutive appearance in the post season, a stat unsurpassed by any current USL Championship clubs and second in all of North American professional soccer.
In an inaugural season The Miami FC might want to move past, the play of Miguel Gonzalez is sure to be a building block to the future. Gonzalez’s 3 goals this season come off of just 7 shots for the year, making him the second-leading goal scorer behind veteran Romario Williams. As the only opposing player to score against Joe Kuzminsky since the keeper’s return from loan, the Battery back line will look to crowd Gonzalez out of the box this third time out whether he’s in the starting eleven or comes in late off the bench.
Zeiko continues to be Charleston Battery’s attacking leader this season, leading the team in all attacking categories with 5 goals, 22 shots, and 24 chances created. Statistically speaking, you can bet that Lewis will find the back of the net against a struggling Miami FC defense. Be on the lookout for the Bermudian to add to his goal tally as the Battery plan to score multiple goals in a match for the first time since August 26.
After the statement made on Group H in last Friday’s win over Tampa Bay, the boys took a day off before hitting the training pitch again, including a rain-soaked full scrimmage on Wednesday.
After the impressive team performance against the Rowdies, Coach Mike Anhaeuser praised his team saying, “the biggest thing for us against Tampa Bay was our team defending. We were so good from the top, the middle, and especially at the back.” He went on to mention how well the Battery adapted to the different looks that Tampa Bay presented in the last match and how well his team handled the Rowdies through all phases of the game.
On switching focus to Miami FC visiting Patriots Point for the second time this season, Coach added, “the big thing is that we don’t want to change. Miami is going to come in here to try and win. We have to do the job and do it well.” He continued by saying, “we want to put them away… we need to get the job done. They can come in here and throw numbers forward, so we have to be prepared for a little bit of anything.”
As of posting, Kierron Mason and Romario Piggot are listed as unavailable for Sunday’s match.
Charleston Battery vs. The Miami FC
Sunday, September 20 – 6:00 PM EST Kickoff
HOW TO WATCH:
All Battery matches will be streaming on the ESPN+ platform. Sunday's match will be live HERE.