CHARLESTON, SC (Aug. 2, 2016) — The Charlotte Independence (9-6-4) this Wednesday play their third consecutive road match, a 7:30pm ET rematch with the Charleston Battery (10-4-6) at MUSC Health Stadium. It also will mark the second of three matches in a nine-day span for the Independence, who are coming off a 1-0 victory at FC Montreal on July 30 and will turnaround to play at Bethlehem Steel FC on Sunday, Aug. 7.
In the first meeting between the Independence and Battery back on April 16, Charlotte jumped out to a 2-0 halftime lead. Enzo Martinezconverted a penalty kick in the 22nd minute, while Brian Brown buried a rebound shot of Caleb Calvert’s that careened off the crossbar. Second-half substitute Jorge Herrera then slotted one home following a turnover inside the Charleston box to make it 3-0 after 70 minutes.
The Battery’s Romario Williams poached a goal against the run of play with less than 15 minutes remaining in the match. Charleston’s Zach Prince was then shown a red card for a foul on Herrera, meaning the Battery had to play with 10 men for the final seven minutes of the match. The club caught a break, however, when Ataullah Guerra earned a penalty kick after being fouled in the box by Yann Ekra. Justin Portilloconverted from the spot and cut the Independence lead to 3-2 with four minutes left to play. Charlotte goalkeeper Cody Mizell was then forced to make a key save in the waning moments of stoppage time to preserve the victory.
Only one of the five previous meetings between these clubs has been decided by more than one goal, that being the Battery’s 3-1 victory in Charleston during the 2015 regular-season finale. Additional results included a 3-2 road victory for Charleston, 2-1 home win for Charlotte and 1-1 draw at MUSC Health Stadium.
While Williams leads the Battery with an impressive eight goals this season, it is the Charleston defense that has been truly outstanding. The backline is holding opponents to less than 10 shots per game, while the goalkeepers have posted nine shutouts and currently hold a 0.95 goals against average. Alex Tambakis has been given the majority of starts – 12 to Odisnel Cooper’s 8 – and has a save percentage of 75%.
Charlotte’s defense isn’t far behind with a 1.06 goals against average, six shutouts, 76.2 save percentage and 10.94 shots allowed per game. Most recently, goalkeeper John Berner has posted back-to-back, five-save shutouts. The Independence attack also is very dangerous, with five different players having tallied double-digit points this season. Martinez leads the way with five goals and three assists, while Herrera and Calvert have five goals and two assists each. Brown also has 12 points on four goals and four assists.
Action on the pitch is sure to be intense Wednesday with these regional rivals so evenly matched in talent and fighting to move up the Eastern Conference standings. The Aug. 3 match will be the second of three between Charlotte and Charleston this year, with the final meeting set to take place back at MUSC Health Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 27. Kickoff between the Independence and Battery on Wednesday is set for 7:30pm ET. The match will be available live at youtube.com/USL