The Battery hit the road for a midweek match against Hartford Athletic on Wednesday, September 1. Kickoff at Dillon Stadium is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST.
Wednesday’s meeting between Charleston and Hartford is the second in roughly two weeks and third overall this year. The two sides faced off on August 17 in Connecticut when the Athletic won 2-1. Claudio Repetto got on the scoresheet for the Battery before the end of the first half, however the Black and Yellow were unable to find an equalizer. Charleston will look to avenge that result come Wednesday night.
Looking at the Atlantic Division table, it is still a close one. The Battery are in fourth with an 8-7-4 record (28 pts) and the Athletic are in fifth with an 8-8-3 record (27 pts). Both clubs, and Charlotte Independence, are vying for a playoff spot via a top-four finish in the division.
Hartford will look to bounce back after falling to Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC in a 2-3 thriller at Dillon Stadium. The score was even 2-2 heading into stoppage time until Russell Cicerone scored the match-winning goal in the 91st minute following a corner kick. Both sides converted from the penalty spot during the game, although Jeff Caldwell saved Pittsburgh’s second penalty opportunity with an impressive kick save in the 37th minute. Hartford played with only 10 men after Tulu was issued a red card which prompted the second penalty kick, he will be unavailable for Wednesday’s contest as result.
Charleston will look to build on the hard-earned point secured in the 0-0 result against Orange County SC on Saturday. The night’s proceedings featured a defensive standoff that saw neither side blink during the match. Orange County’s Ronaldo Damus provided the visitors with five shots on the night, but the rising star was unable to overcome the rocks of the Battery back line. Leland Archer continued his strong run of form by leading the game in clearances (9) and interceptions (4) to help preserve the shutout. Zeiko Lewis and Nicque Daley worked to lead Charleston’s offense with threatening looks during the 90 minutes of action, however neither were able to convert.
The season series between Charleston and Hartford is split at one win apiece. The victorious side will find themselves in fourth place of the division table after the match.
Caldwell has been among Hartford’s top players during the 2021 campaign. The shot-stopper currently leads the league in saves with 79, 10 clear of the next goalkeeper behind him. Caldwell is tied for fourth-most clean sheets in the league with five. Although Pittsburgh got the better of the 10-man Hartford side, Caldwell’s penalty save nearly made the difference in salvaging a valuable point for the Athletic. His performance against the Hounds was still a strong one as he notched five saves and two punches. Expect one of the league’s top goalkeepers to be a force again on Wednesday.
The first-year defender continues to grow in the professional level and has become a key asset to the Battery back line. Against Orange County, Hogan tabulated five recoveries, one clearance, one tackle and one interception, in addition to a crucial block against Sean Okoli at a dangerous spot inside the box. The center-back was a key distributor for the Battery, completing an impressive 67 of 74 passes (90.5%) and a team-high 87% passing accuracy in the opposition half. For his efforts, Hogan was graded among the top performers for the Battery by FotMob.com with a rating of 7.2 (out of 10). Expect Hogan to build on the momentum of his recent appearances.
The Battery returned to training Monday at Patriots Point after a day of recovery Sunday. The Black and Yellow head to Hartford on Tuesday for a training session ahead of the match.
Battery Head Coach Michael Anhaeuser spoke on the positives against Orange County to build on, crediting the defensive performance that played a key role in securing a valuable point.
“It was nice to see us defend well against a very good offensive team,” said Anhaeuser. “When you get a draw, you pick up a point, and that point ended up being huge for us in the playoff race. It was disappointing that we didn’t get three points, but you do want to take the positives.”
The Battery get ready to face Hartford for the second time in about two weeks and Coach Anhaeuser said the team is eager to get another match in at Dillon Stadium.
“We’re looking forward to going back up to Hartford, we know it’s a big game,” said Anhaeuser. “We've been better defensively with our decision making, but we can't forget to attack, because [Hartford] sit in well. If we can get after them with our speed, and our counter-attack, it's going to be important. If we can do that, we're going to have success.”
Goalkeeper Joe Kuzminsky detailed the importance of Wednesday’s match, and the forthcoming games, on the playoff race in the Atlantic Division.
“Every game is a big game for us, we want to win on the road, get a result, and at home we have to take care of business,” said Kuzminsky. “Every game from here on out is a playoff game and we have to go in with that mentality.”
Kuzminsky said the team expects a physical match at Dillon Stadium, which will require the Battery to remain resolute during the evening.
“[Hartford] are definitely a very physical team, they like to press and get up on top,” said Kuzminsky. “We have to maintain our composure and try to keep the ball as much as possible. We're on the road so it's going to be a battle and we have to match that intensity.”
As of posting, Temi Adesodun and Joel Bunting are questionable, and Jarad van Schaik, Nique Daley, Logan Gdula, Nico Rittmeyer, and Mauro Cichero are out. DZ Harmon is unavailable for Wednesday’s contest due to a red card issued on Saturday.
Hartford Athletic vs. Charleston Battery
Wednesday, September 1 – 7:00 p.m. EST Kickoff
Dillon Stadium, Hartford, Connecticut
The Battery will also be hosting a supporters watch party at Rusty Bull Brewing in North Charleston, starting at 6 p.m. ahead of kickoff! Full details on the event can be found in the linked image below.