The Battery return home this weekend to play Hartford Athletic at Patriots Point on Saturday, July 17. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST. The match will be the first time in the club’s two seasons at Patriots Point that the stadium opens to full capacity.
The meeting is the first between the two sides since 2019, where the Battery won both contests in a home-and-home series. Charleston won 2-1 in Charleston and 2-3 in Connecticut, in both matches, it was Zeiko Lewis who got the scoring started.
Looking at the current Atlantic Division table, Hartford are in third with a 6-2-2 record (20 pts) and Charleston are in seventh with a 3-4-3 record (12 pts), as of posting. Both clubs have played only 10 matches, tied for the fewest in the division.
Hartford are coming off an impressive 0-1 road victory over the division-leading Tampa Bay Rowdies on Tuesday. Derek Dodson provided the lone goal of the evening, a header in the 22nd minute that proved to be the difference-maker. Tampa Bay uncorked 21 shots during the match, but only five were on target, and Hartford goalkeeper Jeff Caldwell had a busy day at the office with five saves and two punches to earn the clean sheet. Hartford are 3-1-1 in their last five matches.
Charleston return home following a hard-fought battle against New Mexico United where they fell 2-1 in the cross-country dual. Forward Claudio Repetto scored his first professional goal just before halftime to even the score 1-1. New Mexico found a breakthrough in the 52nd that proved to be the match-winner. The Battery’s roster featured five first-year players in the lineup who have been getting crucial minutes under their belt. Fellow rookie and former Coastal Carolina teammate DZ Harmon provided the assist for Repetto’s goal, which marked a noteworthy moment in their early careers going from college to pro together.
Saturday’s match will also be the first time defender Logan Gdula will face his former club, having played for Hartford Athletic in 2019 where he made 15 appearances while on loan.
Caldwell played a crucial role in Hartford’s victory over the Rowdies. The shot-stopper tallied five saves and two punches en route to his fourth clean sheet of the year. Caldwell is just one clean sheet off from the league lead. His efforts in keeping the Rowdies at bay earned him USLChampionship.com Man of the Match honors. Look for Caldwell to go for a repeat performance while helping Hartford search for their second consecutive victory.
Repetto has been a developing piece in the Battery attack since signing with the club in June. He has recorded two starts in four total appearances with the Black and Yellow so far, with both starts occurring in his last two appearances. Repetto scored his first career professional goal against New Mexico United last time out, connecting with DZ Harmon for the score. Repetto had shown the ability to be a dangerous playmaker against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC before finally breaking through against New Mexico. Expect Claudio to search for his second goal of the season as he continues to develop early in his professional career.
The Battery returned to Patriots Point for training on Wednesday following a rest and travel day on Tuesday.
The team is looking forward to returning home to play at Patriots Point.
“We’re back on our grass and we want to keep the tempo up, we want to take advantage of our home field,” said Head Coach Michael Anhaeuser. “[New Mexico] played a little slower game, which we did okay with, but here we want to play like we did against Pittsburgh at the start, we want to come out and do what we did against Miami, and really get after [Hartford].”
Saturday will be the first time the Battery face the Connecticut outfit this season and Coach Anhaesuer has the team preparing for their style of play.
“[Hartford] do have guys who can counter-attack and can catch you on the counter attack, which they proved against Tampa, and we’ve got to be aware of that,” said Anhaeuser.
The team has been making adjustments in training ahead of Saturday’s match.
“We’ve been focusing on precision and the final third,” said forward Joel Bunting. “In the final third, that last pass, that last touch, that last finish, that’s what we’ve been working on.”
Bunting and the other first-year players have been finding more playing time as the season has progressed and adapting together.
“We spend a lot of time, me and the other rookies, talking about our experience getting here and how we’re all adjusting to it,” said Bunting. “We help each other out, give each other tips on how to be better and how to be ready for the next game, it’s good to have a lot of other rookies with me because we’re all experiencing this together.”
To secure the three points, it will take a complete performance against a tough opponent in Hartford.
“We’ve got to be balanced, we’ve got to be organized, we’ve got to have confidence here and do exactly what we’ve been doing [at Patriots Point],” said Anhaeuser.
As of posting, Robbie Crawford, Geobel Perez, Nico Rittmeyer and Mauro Cichero are out. Burke Fahling will miss the contest due to a red card at the end of Charleston’s last match. AJ Paterson is off on international duty with the Grenada national team for the Gold Cup Group Stage.
Charleston Battery vs. Hartford Athletic
Saturday, July 17 – 7:30 p.m. EST Kickoff
Saturday’s match is the first match back to full capacity at Patriots Point, get your tickets via SeatGeek here. All Battery matches will also stream on ESPN+ domestically and through the league’s YouTube channel for free internationally.