Miami FC’s current eight-game unbeaten streak can be traced back to a thrilling comeback victory at FIU Stadium against the Charleston Battery back on Aug. 1. After falling behind 2-0, Miami flipped a switch and scored three unanswered goals to earn a 3-2 win over the Battery.
That win kicked off an incredible month for Miami FC (12-6-5, 41 pts). Since then, they have separated themselves from the melee teams fighting for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Atlantic Division. At the same time, Miami has also forced their way into a three-way race for the top spot in the division alongside the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
Now the Battery will be seeking some revenge. They return to FIU Stadium for the second time this season hoping to end the unbeaten streak that started with them. But even more importantly, Charleston needs at least a point to try and keep up in the playoff race.
Know Your Enemy: Charleston Battery
The Charleston Battery (8-8-5, 29 pts), under long-time Head Coach Mike Anhauser, are a balanced team fighting for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Atlantic Division. They are near the middle of the pack in the Championship in goals scored (30) and and goals allowed (29).
The Battery travel to South Florida after earning a 1-1 midweek draw on the road against Atlanta United 2. Taking a step back, they’ve only won one match in their past five. They’ve also struggled to put the ball in the back of the net, scoring just one goal in their last three matches.
Forwards Claudio Repetto and Zeiko Lewis are two players to watch out for on Saturday. Repetto leads the team with six goals, even though he’s appeared in just 12 matches this season. Lewis, meanwhile, has been pivotal in creating opportunities for his teammates. He leads the Battery in chances created (36) and assists (7). On top of that, Lewis also has four goals to his name to boot.
Goalkeeper Joe Kuzminsky has been Charleston’s man between the pipes for most of the season, amassing 48 saves and four clean sheets for the Battery.
Keys To A Miami Victory
Connor Sparrow and Cristiano François were sensational in Miami’s road win over Memphis 901 FC on Sept. 11, with François earning a brace and Sparrow making several heart-stopping saves to secure his third shutout of the season. They both earned Team of the Week honors for their performance, and Miami will need both of them to step up again against the Battery.
Against a Charleston team that doesn’t give up many goals, Sparrow will be called on again to be on top of his game. Two early goals that slipped past Sparrow nearly cost Miami against the Battery last month.
François scored the goal that pulled Miami even in that win over the Battery on Aug. 1, and he now leads Miami with seven goals this season. Can he keep his hot streak going now that the club is back home?
Also keep an eye on two of Miami’s newest additions up front: Joshua Perez and Chris Cortez. Both players add depth for Miami as they prepare for the final stretch of the season and a potential playoff run in November.
Perez made his debut last week at Memphis and added a late spark for Miami. The El Salvadorian nearly scoring a goal near the end of the match. Cortez, meanwhile, returns to the USL Championship after having a breakout season back in 2018 (20 goals and five assists for Phoenix Rising). The California native will be eligible to play Saturday.
Despite its struggles as of late, Charleston remains a dangerous team coming into Miami. They will be motivated to come away with three points and keep up with the surging Charlotte Independence, who now hold that fourth place spot in the division.
But Miami has been nearly unbeatable at home over the past few months. In fact, they have won six straight home matches dating back to June 26. And it’s hard to pick against Miami when they are playing in the friendly confines of FIU Stadium.
Miami FC 1 – Charleston Battery 0
WHO: Miami FC (12-6-5, 41 points) vs. Charleston Battery (8-8-5, 29 pts)
WHEN: Saturday, September 18 // 7:30 pm EST
WHERE: FIU Stadium (Miami, FL)
- Miami FC – None
- Charleston Battery – None