EM Dash Photography
The Charleston Battery have dominated the USL Eastern Conference during the first half of 2017, but Louisville City FC catches the Battery at an ideal time Saturday -- when they don't have the league's leading scorer available -- for a 7 p.m. game at MUSC Health Stadium.
Here's what to watch for as the conference's Nos. 1 and 2 teams square off...
TV: WMYO channel 58 will air the game live and in high definition locally with Mike Pepper and Lee Godfrey on the call.
Radio: TJ Walker (play-by-play) and Jeff Milby (color commentary) will voice the action on NewsRadio 840 WHAS, with pregame coverage starting at 6:45 p.m.
For Starting XI information and in-game updates, check us out on social media. It’s @loucityfc on Twitter, Louisville City FC on Facebook and louisvillecityfc on Instagram. Vote for the Modelo Man of the Match on Twitter starting in the 75th minute.
• LouCity aims to slow Battery in 1 vs. 2 matchup
• Videos: O'Connor, players preview Saturday's game
• LouCity defense looking for redemption in Charleston
• Williams maintains ties to home through charity
The standings: LouCity (8-2-4, 28 points) bounced back from its first defeat in two months to top Ottawa Fury FC last week, holding on to the second spot int he USL Eastern Conference. The club sits six points behind first-place Charleston. The Battery (10-2-4, 34 points) have not lost in five games, firmly holding their spot at the top.
Last time they met: LouCity played Charleston to a thrilling 4-4 draw at MUSC Health Stadium, also the site of Saturday’s game, back on June 3. The boys in purple trailed 2-0, 3-1, and 4-2 until Brian Ownby scored in the 79th minute and Richard Ballard helped equalize in the 82nd on a cross in that ended up an own goal.
About Charleston: Charleston, which enters off a 2-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rowdies, has knocked in 36 goals and conceded just 18. The plus-18 goal differential leads the Eastern Conference and is second of 30 USL teams. The Battery sport six multi-goal scorers and have posted seven clean sheets.
Gold Cup takes two: Romario Williams, the USL’s leading scorer with 14 goals, will not be with Charleston Saturday while on international duty at the CONCACAF Gold Cup. The Jamaican, as well as LouCity midfielder and Canada native Mark-Anthony Kate, begin group stage play this weekend for their countries. Williams scored twice in the first half the last time he played LouCity.
Ownby on a roll: A major addition to this year’s LouCity squad, veteran midfielder Brian Ownby is ups or USL Player of the Month after tallying three goals and two assists in June. Overall, he’s tied for the team lead in both statistical categories. Ownby has appeared four times on the USL Team of the Week, most recently this week after opening scoring against Fury FC in the 14th minute.
Ilic gets his start: While Ilija Ilic had opened one other game on the pitch this season before last weekend, coach James O’Connor’s decision to start him against Ottawa marked the first such instance in which Ilic was the lone striker. It worked out, as LouCity never trailed Fury FC, and Ilic proved a threat, in the 20th minute firing a shot off the crossbar that could have doubled his side’s lead. Ilic subbed out in the 61st minute, a decision O’Connor made with his forward sitting on a yellow card.
Strong return for Spencer: After tweaking his hamstring in a May 31 U.S. Open Cup game, forward Luke Spencer has quickly returned to form. Against the Harrisburg City Islanders last month, he subbed in and created a pair of late chances that nearly equalized in the loss. Last weekend, the striker returned to the scoresheet in the 71st minute, finishing what ended up a game-winner after a scramble for a loose ball in the box.
Reynolds' role rising: Defender Sean Reynolds made his first start June 3 at Charleston and returned to the lineup Saturday to much better success. Ottawa posted just one shot on goal, and it didn’t come until Steevan Dos Santos headed in an 88th-minute goal. Reynolds, a key piece to LouCity’s defense in 2016, could hear his name called again Saturday to defend a tall Battery front line.