Photo by James Tinnell
Guy Abend acknowledges Louisville City FC fans witnessed a thriller last time his club traveled to play the Charleston Battery.
But, “If you're playing it or a part of it,” the midfielder said, “it was a bit too much.”
LouCity trailed by two goals at three points during a June 3 game at South Carolina’s MUSC Health Stadium before gutting out a 4-4 draw. The boys in purple would rather not repeat it when they travel to play the Battery again at 7 p.m. Saturday.
“It's never just one thing,” said coach James O’Connor. “The tendency is to look at the defenders. For us, I always preach that our defending will start with the guys up front, and our attack starts with the goalkeeper.
“The thing to try and emphasize is they have multiple players with a lot of pace and multiple players who are capable of scoring goals.”
The Battery, however, will be without their top scorer Saturday. Forward Romario Williams is with the Jamaican National Team during its run at the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the same reason LouCity’s Mark-Anthony Kaye won’t be available this weekend.
Williams, who registered a first half brace against LouCity last month, has totaled a USL-high 14 goals in 15 appearances.
Defender Sean Reynolds doesn’t consider international duty an excuse for either side.
"There's 11 people on the field,” he said. “If you say, well, one of us are out, are we going to blame ourselves for that one person? No.”
LouCity can expect the Battery to sport their usual midfield, which features Ataulla Guerra and Justin Portillo, both with four goals so far this season. Defender Forrest Lasso, who measures at 6-foot-5, has six goals.
“For me, it's about redemption,” said Reynolds, who made his first start of the season when LouCity last played Charleston. “As a team, we let in four goals, which is very unusual for us. Keeping a clean sheet is our biggest priority going into this game.”
LouCity played some of its soccer of the year in the games following the other Charleston meeting, reeling off three straight wins. Overall, the boys in purple have won four of their last five and will seek an eighth shutout of the season Saturday.
It’s a meeting between the No. 1 and 2 teams in the United Soccer League’s Eastern Conference. The Battery, with 36 points, have played two more games than LouCity, which brings in 28 points.
"I think the coaching staff is doing a great job keeping our eyes off the table and standings,” Abend said. “We focus on each game by itself. It's Charleston now, and next week we'll look at the next opponent.”