For the first time in three weeks, the Battery are at home, preparing to face the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, and looking to return to form with more of the depth which has helped them over the past few seasons as players return from injury.
Pittsburgh are in the midst of a two game week, with a trip to Louisville on Wednesday ending 2-2, with the Hounds finding an 86th minute equalizer thanks to a penalty. Despite this, their form hasn’t been great early on this season, and, like the Battery, they will be hoping to get back to the form that got them into the playoffs in 2015.
Romeo Parkes is a potential weapon for the visitors, with three goals in three games, tying him with the Battery’s own Romario Williams in fifth in the goalscoring charts.
Corey Hertzog is another to watch for Pittsburgh, with experience at various teams doing him well, including the Wilmington Hammerheads during their 2013 run toward the Championship game, as well as time in the NASL and MLS.
As for the home side, Maikel Chang returned to the fold against the Steel after spending a few weeks out with an injury, matched on the opposite flank by Dante Marini, while Ricky Garbanzo also featured late for the Black and Yellow, but was unable to change the outcome of the 0-0 draw. This will also be the home crowd’s first chance, presumably to see new signing Chris Tsonis in league action. The striker featured in preseason after spending last year with the Red Bulls, but only signed officially last week.
Odisnel Cooper also made his return last week, after seeing Alex Tambakis concede three goals in Charlotte, so the 2015 team MVP is in contention here. It will be interesting to see if last week was only to give Tambakis time to cool his head after a tough day at the office against a rival, or if Cooper will remain as he has experience with this back line.
Kevin Corby and Heviel Cordoves remain out, while the aforementioned Garbanzo and Forrest Lasso are probable, but other than that, there are no new injury concerns.
The problems up front are what will concern the Battery most, after the only outlier to a usually solid backline was conceding the three goals against Charlotte. But Romario Williams has shown that he is capable of finding where the goal is, and his chemistry with Ricky Garbanzo hasn’t really been explored yet, what with Garbanzo’s injury problems, so perhaps that will be the thing to keep an eye on for Saturday.
So, two teams looking to improve face off at MUSC Health Stadium on Saturday, with both needing the early points for similar, and somehow different reasons. The Match kicks off at 7:30. You can also stream the match on USL’s Youtube channel.
Photo Credit Ross Almers