The Battery are back on the road to face the Tampa Bay Rowdies on Thursday, October 7. Kickoff at Al Lang Stadium is set for 8 p.m. EST and the game is the regular season finale between the two clubs.
Looking at the division table, the Rowdies are in first with a record of 19-6-1 (58 pts) and the Battery are in fifth with a record of 8-10-7 (31 pts).
Tampa Bay came away victorious in the meeting last Saturday, edging the Battery 1-2 at Patriots Point. Charleston got off to an early lead via a Claudio Repetto goal from the penalty spot. The penalty kick was awarded following a handball by Tampa Bay inside their own 18-yard box on a shot from AJ Paterson. The goal was the ninth of Repetto’s rookie campaign. The Rowdies responded with a pair of quick goals midway through the first half to take the lead. Charleston pressed forward for an equalizer and held Tampa Bay without a shot after the hour mark, but were unable to convert any chances.
Although a relatively low-scoring series so far, the deciding moment could come down to another penalty kick. Of the five goals scored between both sides in the matchups this season, three have been from the penalty spot – look for both defenses to be cautious in not conceding any opportunities from the spot as it could be what makes the difference.
Leland Archer will be unavailable for selection Thursday due to yellow card accumulation after going into the book again Saturday.
Thursday's match is the second of three in an eight-day period for the Battery, as they will face Hartford Athletic at Patriots Point on Sunday, October 10.
Hilton has been an important piece of Tampa Bay’s squad this season. The midfielder currently leads the team with 55 chances created, nearly double the next player behind him in second (Sebastián Guenzatti, 28). In addition to creating opportunities, Hilton has registered two goals this season, including one against Charleston. Expect him to play another key role for the Rowdies as they fight for the top record in the league.
Crawford’s role on the pitch has been paramount in recent games for the Battery, as the Scottish midfielder has helped guide the team’s game plans. Against Tampa Bay, Crawford registered a team-high four tackles and eight possessions gained, along with one key pass, five duels won and one interception. For his efforts, he was the co-highest rated player, with Claudio Repetto, by FotMob.com at 7.4 (out of 10). Crawford will look to build on that strong performance this Thursday.
The Battery were back at training Monday following a day of recovery after the Saturday match. The team practiced at Patriots Point prior to their departure for Florida on Wednesday.
Battery Head Coach Michael Anhaeuser readies his team ahead of the Atlantic Division showdown.
“We’re talking about the things we need to try to do better, like crosses, we want to try to put [Tampa Bay] under pressure a little more with our free kicks and our crosses,” said Anhaeuser. “Everything looks good, the guys looked fresh [Monday] and [Tuesday].”
The Black and Yellow have worked with short breaks between games before this season, but this is the first one featuring the same opponent in consecutive matches.
“It’s a quick turnaround, we’re playing [Tampa Bay] again, it’s not a natural thing but it’s something that’s happened before and you just got to turn the table, start our win streak,” said Anhaeuser.
Battery forward Claudio Repetto said the team knows the task ahead of them and are eager to bounce back on the road.
“You’ve got to reset the mentality, whether a win or loss or the position you are in the standings, you need to focus on your goal,” said Repetto. “We go from game to game for the three points every time.”
Repetto said they recognize chances can be limited in Tampa Bay, but they will need to take advantage of all the opportunities that come their way to secure the three points.
“We know our strengths and our weaknesses, we know [the Rowdies], and we have to take our chances,” said Repetto. “Tampa Bay is a tough place to go and we may not have too many chances, but at the same time, if we have some, we've got to take them.”
As of posting, Romario Piggott, Temi Adesodun and Logan Gdula are questionable, and Nico Rittmeyer and Mauro Cichero are out.
Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Charleston Battery
Thursday, October 7 – 8 p.m. EST Kickoff
Al Lang Stadium, St. Petersburg, Florida
Thursday’s match will be televised nationally on ESPN Deportes, check local listings for viewing information.
All Battery matches will also stream domestically on ESPN+, you can tune in Thursday here. International viewers can catch the action via the USL YouTube channel for free.
The Battery will also be hosting a supporters watch party at Rusty Bull Brewing in North Charleston, starting at 7 p.m. ahead of kickoff! Full details on the event can be found in the linked image below.