The Charleston Battery left for Pittsburgh Friday morning in preparation for a Week 11 match-up against the Riverhounds at Highmark Stadium Saturday night. The Battery enter the match against Pittsburgh in fourth place while the Riverhounds sit in second-to-last place.
Charleston is coming off its first USL loss at MUSC Health Stadium in over two years and an extra time loss that eliminated the team from the US Open Cup.
The Battery lost 2-0 to league-leaders Louisville City FC on 5/28. The visitors adjusted quickly to the harsh conditions brought on by Tropical Storm Bonnie and controlled the game from the outset. The result never looked in doubt for Louisville, George Davis IV and Kyle Smith scored in the first half and the team cruised to three points.
Romario Williams was sent off in the 51st minute of the match against LouCity after a mistimed tackle. Williams will serve a one-game suspension this Saturday vs Pittsburgh.
The Battery attempted to turn things around Wednesday night in the third round of the Open Cup against the Jacksonville Armada at Southern Oak Stadium, but an Alhassane Keita goal in the 107th minute ended Charleston’s run in the tournament.
Following Chris Tsonis’ equalizer in the 22nd minute, the score remained tied until Keita’s game-winner in extra time. Tsonis’ goal was created from a long ball over the top from Romario Williams. Tsonis brought the ball down well with his chest and slipped it past the onrushing goalkeeper. The goal was Tsonis’ second of the year, making him one of only three players with multiple goals this season.
Pittsburgh watched the Open Cup games from home Wednesday after being eliminated in the first round of the tournament on 5/18, meaning the Riverhounds will come into Saturday’s match with the fresher legs. Pittsburgh’s last match was a 1-0 loss to New York Red Bulls II in New York on 5/28. The Riverhounds’ fresh legs versus Charleston’s which are carrying 120 minutes from Wednesday and a long day of travel on Friday will be something to keep an eye on in Saturday’s match.
The week before the loss to NYRBII, the Riverhounds earned their first win of the season, defeating Toronto FC II 2-1 at home. Pittsburgh only has six points on the year (Charleston has 18) but has played two fewer games than most of the league.
When Pittsburgh visited MUSC Health Stadium on 4/30, the two teams split the points, drawing 1-1. Romeo Parkes and Justin Portillo scored in the match. Since Pittsburgh’s visit to Charleston, Parkes’ contract has been terminated. Despite no longer being on the active roster, Parkes is still the Riverhounds’ leading goal-scorer with five this season.
Williams is the Battery’s leading goal-scorer, meaning both teams will be without their biggest attacking threats Saturday. While Charleston will miss Williams’ physicality and pace up top, the team has a host of other dangerous attacking players and should still create plenty of opportunities going forward Saturday night.
With a win over the Riverhounds, the Battery can temporarily move back into second place, depending on results around the league.
Following the match in Pittsburgh, Charleston will return home to face Orlando City B at MUSC Health Stadium for the first time in history on 6/11. Tickets to that match can be purchased here. This Saturday’s match can be viewed via live stream here.