The Battery face the Rochester Rhinos Friday night with big boys at ESPN 3 watching. This is the first time the Battery will be featured on ESPN 3 following a deal between the USL and ESPN to stream one game a week as part of a “Game of the Week” format. Whether that will bring out the best in the players is yet to be determined, but given the run of recent results, fans will certainly hope so.
It’s a clash between two of the league’s most storied clubs, as both sides have won multiple league titles and can be considered veterans of the division, which, if not a rivalry, paves the way for a certainly intense affair.
Rochester currently sit in fourth place, with three wins, a draw and a loss, and are level on points with Richmond and Cincinnati. The Battery are one place back from that pack in fifth, but the Rhinos have a game in hand.
The 2015 USL Champions have built a name for themselves getting quick goals and then shoring up at the back, which the Battery saw first hand last year in a 1-0 loss against them in upstate New York and a 0-0 draw back home, but the thing for the Rhinos, like the Battery, is having kept players from that team that won them the title, which does include their manager, Bob Lilley.
Christian Volesky is a player to watch, having opened his season in fine form with a team-leading three goals to his name, adding to the 8 he had last year, which he and Stephen Dos Santos were tied on. The latter hasn’t had many minutes this season, allowing other players to step in and prove themselves, giving the Rhinos a multitude of weapons.
Maikel Chang was perhaps the most influential player for the Battery last week against Pittsburgh, and will be needing to be on his game again for this one. The game was also relevant for Ricky Garbanzo, who came on as a sub at half time and completed his first full half since picking up a training injury early in the season.
Dante Marini has two starts in a row, and has impressed in both. Opposite Chang on the left, Marini is also a tricky customer on the right, using pace and low center of gravity to worm his way past players. Perhaps this will be three on the bounce for him?
Zach Prince is also back for the Battery after getting sent off against Charlotte. He has been missed in one way or another, as he’s always been steady in the midfield, having been in the Black and Yellow for eight years.
And so, the Battery go into a Friday matchup looking for points, and coming off a decent display against Pittsburgh, unlucky not to win, the confidence will surely be high. The match kicks off at 7:05PM and can be streamed via ESPN3.
Photo Source: Ross Almers Photography