The Battery are back on the road to take on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC on Saturday, September 25. The away day is scheduled for a 7 p.m. EST kickoff at Highmark Stadium.
This will be the third meeting between the two sides, the Hounds have an edge on the season series with a 1-0-1 record, with both played at Patriots Point. Geoebel Perez scored his first professional goal in the July 7 draw, and Logan Gdula and Romario Piggott scored in the 2-3 defeat on August 6. Charleston will look to return the favor when they visit the Pennsylvania outfit’s home turf.
Looking at the Atlantic Division table, Pittsburgh are in second with a 14-7-5 record (47 pts) and Charleston are in fifth with a 8-9-6 record (30 pts).
The Riverhounds are coming off a 1-0 away defeat at the hands of Charlotte Independence. The game was trending towards a draw until Irvin Parra broke the deadlock with a goal in the 81st minute to secure a victory for the hosts. Danny Vitiello turned in an admirable showing for Pittsburgh with six saves, four high claims and three punches. The Hounds nearly took an advantage at the start of the second half when Russell Cicerone had the ball near the goal against a relatively open net, but he mishit the shot and Charlotte defender Joel intervened to stop the sparsely-powered attempt at the 6-yard line. Pittsburgh will look to bounce back as they return home.
The Battery will aim to rebound in Pittsburgh following a hard-fought 2-3 home defeat against New York Red Bulls II. New York scored early to go up 2-0 before Joel Bunting got on the scoresheet midway through the first half. The goal was the Charleston native’s third of his rookie campaign. Leland Archer also got on the scoresheet for the first time in his career, sending a diving header that rattled off the crossbar and past the goalline. The Black and Yellow pushed for an equalizer after Archer’s goal in the 80th minute, but were unable to convert. Charleston faces a tough road challenge next against the Riverhounds but could be poised for a breakout performance after the way the Red Bulls II match concluded.
Charleston’s trip to Highmark Stadium will be the first for the team since September 14, 2019.
Vitiello has led a commanding Pittsburgh defense all season and will look to maintain that form Saturday. Despite Pittsburgh’s defeat to Charlotte, Vitiello had himself a night – tallying six saves, one catch, four high claims and three punches. With the Battery having 15 different goal scorers on their roster, Vitiello will need a similar performance to keep Pittsburgh fighting for the top spot of the Atlantic Division.
Since returning to the Battery lineup on August 20, Archer has been a key asset to Charleston’s squad. While staying a stalwart defender at center back, Archer contributed to the offensive efforts with his late goal against New York. Elsewhere, Leland led the team in clearances (3), interceptions (5) and recoveries (6, tied with Robbie Crawford). For his exceptional performance on the pitch, he was the highest rated player for the Battery at 7.7 (out of 10). Expect Archer to remain a central figure in the Battery game plan as they look to make a run for a playoff spot.
The Battery trained Thursday at Patriots Point following the New York match and will head to Pittsburgh on Friday.
As of posting, Ben Di Rosa and Temi Adesodun are questionable, Romario Piggott, Zeiko Lewis, Logan Gdula, Nico Rittmeyer, and Mauro Cichero are out.
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC vs. Charleston Battery
Saturday, September 22 – 7 p.m. EST Kickoff
Highmark Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
All Battery matches will stream domestically on ESPN+, you can tune in Saturday here. International viewers can catch the action via the USL YouTube channel for free.