The dust has somewhat settled on the midweek drama that was the Battery’s second round US Open Cup clash with The Villages SC, and it is time to get back to the bread and butter. That begins with the trip to Wilmington to take on their Southern Derby rival Hammerheads.
While Charleston came through the Cup tie by forfeiture, Wilmington dismantled the Miami Fusion of the NPSL by a score of 6-0. It will be interesting to see if the Hammerheads go in to the tie with tails up off the back of such a comfortable win.
Having said that, it’s been awhile since the Hammerheads have won a match in the USL. But form goes out the window in derby meetings, and playing at home will certainly be an advantage for them, as it was for the Battery in the previous meeting, when Taylor Meuller popped up with a late winner from a corner which gave the Battery all three points. Meuller, though, went off at the end of the first half against Toronto with a muscle injury, and did not play Wednesday in the Cup, and might again be rested this weekend, if anything as a precaution.
Mael Corboz for Wilmington is perhaps what the likes of Maikel Chang or Justin Portillo are for the Battery, always creating chances for his team mates, tying the league high in assists with three, with one of those being against the Battery on 4/9, and is also always dangerous from a set piece.
The problem, it seems, for Wilmington is more about putting chances away, and not particularly about creating such chances. However, the jitters may have been worked out in front of goal with that 6-0 drubbing of Miami, something the Battery must be wary of.
However, the Battery have been clicking up front in recent weeks. With the aforementioned Chang and Romario Williams as the focal points in the attack for the Black and Yellow. Williams has three in his last three league games, but was only a substitute for the US Open Cup match in midweek. One of his six goals, which is tied for fourth in the league, opened the scoring back in April when these two sides last met, and his current form has been no doubt welcomed, what with injury striking at very inopportune moments.
Having said that, Heviel Cordoves made the bench for Wednesday’s Cup match, and has been a threat to Wilmington in the past, so it’s best to keep that in mind going into this weekend. Kevin Corby remains out, but the only new addition to the injury list may be the previously mentioned Mueller.
A possible strike partner for Williams might be Chris Tsonis, who scored his first goal for the Battery on Wednesday in the Cup from a set piece, eventually sending the match to extra time. Williams and Tsonis both started the Battery’s last away match against Harrisburg, and like the manager’s penchant for swapping ‘keepers for road trips, it’ll be interesting to see if the Battery begin to play with a two-up-front system on their travels instead of the 4-2-3-1 or 4-4-1-1 that they usually go with at home.
Both teams had very different weeks leading up to this match, but who will be the one to come away with an important three points? You’ll see at the end of 90 minutes. Tomorrow’s match kicks off at 7PM and can be viewed at the USL Game Center on their website.