The Miami FC returns to FIU in front of home fans for the for the second time this the season on Sunday evening. It’s an intriguing encounter with a Charleston Battery side who are just one place behind them in the table. That takes on extra significance given that Miami are fourth, the last playoff position in the Atlantic Division table, and Charleston are chasing them down in fifth. The Battery are two points behind the Orange and Blue and have two games in hand. So a victory for Miami is key to cementing fourth position in the table halfway through the USL Championship regular season.
Know Your Enemy: Charleston Battery
Experienced head coach Michael Anhaeuser and the Battery (6-4-3, 21 points) have the upper hand over Miami in USL play. Five matches between the two sides have seen one Miami win, one tie and three Battery victories. Charleston beat Miami 2-1 in South Carolina in June, their only meeting so far this season. However Miami are unbeaten against the Battery at home. Last season saw a 1-1 tie and a fantastic 4-3 Miami win. Charleston let a 3-1 lead slip in that game.
88' – MIAMI FC GOALLLLLL!!! MIGUEL GONZALEZ PUTS US UP 4-3!!! pic.twitter.com/X70ZSynWYt
— The Miami FC (@TheMiamiFC) October 1, 2020
Bermudan attacking midfielder Zeiko Lewis is one to watch for the visitors in midfield. He leads the Battery in assists and also knows where the goal is, Lewis has scored three so far this season. At the other end of the field, goalkeeper Joe Kuzminsky is as good a stopper as you will find in the USL. He was named USL player of the week for his stellar performance vs Charlotte Independence where he saved a penalty and recorded a clean sheet in a 2-0 win.
— USL Championship (@USLChampionship) July 30, 2021
Keys To A Miami Victory
Miami’s recent unbeaten run was halted by Hartford Athletic last time out. It was a close game and the difference between the two teams really came down to Hartford taking their chances in front of goal. Lamar Walker and Speedy Williams return from Gold Cup international duty with Jamaica. Both might come straight back into the team. Williams is a key player in midfield and Walker could start wide on the left, a position that has been filled by Othello Bah in Walker’s absence. There could be injury question marks over both Pierre Da Silva and Richard Ballard. Da Silva was withdrawn through injury in the first half vs Hartford and Ballard didn’t start that game after picking up a knock in the victory versus the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
After failing to score in their last game, Miami must take their chances on Sunday night. They cannot afford to let Charleston win this game. If the Battery take three points they climb above Miami in the table and that would be a psychological blow. You would always expect Miami to control the ball and win the battle for possession, especially at home, but it’s goals that count and Miami have to find a couple against a decent Battery backline. The creativity of Ariel Martinez and Christiano Francois are going to be needed.
It’s hard to separate these teams. Both Miami and Charleston have three wins, one tie and one loss in the last five games. They are fourth and fifth in the table, respectively, and have even scored the same number of goals. Given the importance of the game it’s hard to see another seven goal thriller here. The Battery would probably be content with a draw but Miami know they have to win this. All things considered this could be a win for Miami but a very narrow one.
Miami FC 2 – Charleston Battery 1
WHO: Miami FC (7-6-2, 23 pts) vs. Charleston Battery (6-4-3, 21 pts)
WHEN: Sunday, August 1 // 7:30 pm EST
WHERE: Riccardo Silva Stadium (Miami, FL)
WATCH: ESPN+ in the US, YouTube internationally
- Miami FC – None
- Charleston – None