After some more late heroics last week, the Black and Yellow travel to the Charlotte Independence looking to earn their first three points away from home this season.
It’s another Southern Derby, and one which will count in Southern Derby Cup standings, which the Battery have the upper hand in after their win against Wilmington last week.
For Personnel matters, the Battery have had some bad luck concerning injuries. Four of the five players out have gotten injured outside of matches. Kevin Corby rolled his ankle and required surgery, which will keep him out for five to seven weeks. Ricky Garbanzo, despite making the 18 last week, never featured in the win and hasn’t really trained since receiving a knock at the start of the month. Forrest Lasso is also out after sustaining an injury in the warm ups against Wilmington, and Maikel Chang hurt his leg in training at the start of this week. Naveal Hackshaw, who was in the wars for a lot of the game against the Hammerheads and had to eventually be subbed off near the end, ran on Tuesday after his knee swole up after the match. However, it is only Corby who is listed as out, with Garbanzo and Lasso listed as questionable.
Battery ‘keeper Alex Tambakis has been solid since coming in on loan, keeping four clean sheets in five matches this season (including one in the last friendly against New York Cosmos) but conceded his first goal last week against Wilmington despite having a decent game. His performances have kept Odisnel Cooper out of the team so far, and he will hope his form continues as the season goes on.
Romario Williams, another loan signing for the Battery, has two goals in three games, adding pace and a bit of trickery to the Battery attack. His goals thus far have been vital, a winner against FC Cincinnati, and then opening the scoring against Wilmington last week after just two minutes. However, in between those, his game away at Orlando was quiet off the bench for Heviel Cordoves, so this week gives him a chance to prove that that was just a one-off.
Last year, Charlotte ended the season with a 3-1 loss against the Battery, which left them outside of the playoffs by just one point. This week gives them an early crack at the team which ended their season, and Charlotte will no doubt be looking for a spot of revenge.
A player to watch for them is Yann Ekra, who has previously plied his trade at Harrisburg, but has been known to be a threat in the center of the park. Caleb Calvert is on loan from MLS side Colorado Rapids, and is a capable threat up front, who will give the Battery backline well enough to handle.
It’s worth noting that the Battery haven’t started the same XI for two weeks in a row in the fledgling season, which speaks to the team’s depth, but is also unlucky for one reason or another. Injury and international duty have kept a few players out, which after everyone is fit and available will help the team gel as the season progresses.
And so, the Battery travel to Charlotte with a little bit of momentum, but must be wary of an Independence side with more than enough potential to pick up points themselves.
Header Image: Attaulah Guerra‘s effort early on last week looked to double the Battery’s lead. Photo credit Ross Almers