The Battery return home to face the Tampa Bay Rowdies on Saturday, October 2. Kickoff at Patriots Point is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST and is the third of four regular season meetings against the Rowdies this season.
Tampa Bay have come away as the successful side in the previous two matches between the clubs, winning by a margin of one goal in both. Five of the last six fixtures have been decided by 1-0 results. Charleston will look to even the series starting Saturday as they fight for a playoff spot in the Atlantic Division.
Looking at the division table, the Rowdies are in first with a record of 18-6-1 (55 pts) and the Battery are in fifth with a record of 8-9-7 (31 pts). Saturday’s match will carry with it heavy playoff implications for Charleston.
Tampa Bay are coming off a 1-2 road victory over Hartford Athletic last Saturday for their seventh consecutive win. Sebastian Guenzatti notched a brace and Leo Fernandes provided the assist on both goals. Danny Barrera got one back for the home side at the very end of stoppage time, however the damage had already been done by the Rowdies to secure the three points. Barrera’s goal was the first scored against the Rowdies since August 6 when New York’s Jake LaCava scored against the Florida outfit.
The Battery will look to build off the positives from their 3-3 draw against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC last Saturday. Despite the early 2-0 deficit, the Battery rallied to take a 2-3 lead before Pittsburgh equalized towards the end of the second half. Leland Archer scored first for the Battery, heading home his second goal in as many games. Claudio Repetto rose to the occasion in the second half for his second brace of the season. Repetto got on the scoresheet for the first time since August 20. Despite settling for a draw, Charleston will look to build on the momentum of the second half against Pittsburgh when returning to Patriots Point.
Saturday’s match between the Battery and the Rowdies will also be the first meeting between the two in less than a week, as the sides will face each other again in St. Petersburg on October 7.
Louro has been among the central figures driving Tampa Bay’s impressive run in the recent stages of this season. The team’s shutout streak spanned 891 minutes, setting the new record for the longest shutout streak in USL Championship history. The shot-stopper currently leads the league in clean sheets with 13, four more than the next keeper behind him. In what’s been a low-scoring series as of late, Louro will know just one goal in his net could be the decisive one, so expect him to aim for another clean sheet come Saturday.
On the other end, Repetto will look to seize the momentum from his performance against Pittsburgh where scored his seventh and eighth goals of the season. Repetto had been due for an offensive outbreak after being absent from the scoresheet for a little over a month. At eight goals on the year, the Coastal Carolina alum leads the team in scoring during his rookie season. He has also been Charleston’s most efficient scorer at 129.6 minutes per goal. Repetto will have his work cut out for him against Tampa Bay’s tricky defense, but expect the 6-3 striker to make his presence felt in the crucial game against the Rowdies.
The Battery returned to Patriots Point for training Tuesday following travel and recovery after the Pittsburgh match.
Battery Head Coach Michael Anhaeuser now prepares the squad for a full week at home following an extensive spell of traveling in the latter half of September.
“Being able to do [more in training] and get back into a normal week is nice for the guys, especially since they are here for the whole week,” said Anhaeuser. “We came out and were able to bring back in some of our points about possession and working with the ball, and then Wednesday getting into some game situations.”
Saturday’s match will be the third time facing the Rowdies and Coach Anhaeuser knows the team will have a task ahead of them when Tampa Bay visit Patriots Point.
“We’ve played them so many times and they’re always good defensively,” said Anhaeuser. “They have that nucleus [on the back line] with the goalkeeper and they have that continuity that you really have to be good to score a goal on them, you have to create chances.”
Defender Erik McCue said the team has been making the most of the complete week of practice following the stints of multi-game weeks.
“I think everyone has appreciated the full week of training before the game, getting back into the routine of things because it’s been quite a few away trips, quite a few games mid-week,” said McCue. “We’ll grind through it, but being able to get a full week of training is really nice to get the rhythm going and take a little bit of a break between games.”
The squad is looking forward to playing in front of the Patriots Point fans again and McCue said their support will help the team in the big matchup.
“It’s huge, the crowd here always brings really good energy to the stadium and they really give a good amount of energy to the players as well,” said McCue. “Hearing them sing and scream, we’re hoping to give them a few things to cheer about this weekend.”
As of posting, Romario Piggott and Temi Adesodun are questionable, and Nico Rittmeyer and Mauro Cichero are out.
Charleston Battery vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies
Saturday, October 2 – 7 p.m. EST Kickoff
Tickets are still available for Saturday’s match and can be purchased via SeatGeek here.
All Battery matches will also stream on ESPN+ domestically and through the league’s YouTube channel for free internationally.