It’s Week Six of the USL Championship regular season and Bethlehem Steel FC is getting ready to take on undefeated Charleston Battery. The match will be broadcast on ESPN+ and tickets for the match are available here.
Who is Charleston Battery?
Charleston Battery has a longstanding history, now entering its 27th season of existence since its founding in 1993. The club has been very successful, gathering plenty of accolades and trophies in its 27 seasons. The Battery won the USL A-League in 1996 and 2003, the Atlantic Division of the USL A-League in 1995 and 2000 and the Southeast Division in 2002 and 2003. In the USL Second Division, the club was crowned champions in 2010 and also was crowned regular-season champions in that same season. Charleston also won the USL Championship in 2012.
The Battery have also been historically successful in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, becoming runners up in 2008, reaching the semifinals in 1999 and 2004 and the quarterfinals in 2007, 2009 and 2010. Part of this may be attributed to the consistency in the coaching staff for the last 21 seasons. Head Coach Michael Anhaeuser has been in charge since 2006 and served as an assistant coach with the Battery since 1999 before that.
Steel fans will recognize a familiar name on Charleston’s roster, as AJ Paterson will be returning to face his old club. Paterson joined the Battery on March 7 of this year.
The Battery on the field
The club has gotten off to a solid start in 2019, earning eight points in four matches and sitting in fourth place in the Eastern Conference behind North Carolina FC on goal differential. The Battery are undefeated so far this season, posting a record of 2-0-2, drawing with North Carolina FC and Ottawa Fury FC and defeating Southern-Derby-Cup rivals Charlotte Independence and USL Championship newcomers Hartford Athletic.
Charleston is a team that is stout defensively and has the ability to post goals on opposing teams in a strategic manner. The Battery hold a +3 goal differential through four matches, scoring a total of six goals and only allowing an average of 0.75 goals per match. The club from South Carolina is a double-edged sword that can keep you from scoring and then get you on the other end.
Steel FC hosts Charleston Battery at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pa. at 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 13. The match can be viewed on ESPN+.
Players to watch
Ian Svantesson – Svantesson leads the Battery in most attacking categories at this point in the regular season, including goals (3), shots (15), shot on goal (8) and game-winning goals (1). He is a constant problem for opposing defenses and is a big reason as to why Charleston has scored six goals through four matches. Defensively he leads the Battery in fouls committed (15) and doesn’t let opposing attacks build any rhythm out of the back.
Joe Kuzminksy – Kuzminksy is entering his second season with Charleston and has started all four of the club’s matches in 2019. He has made nine saves, recorded one clean sheet and posted a goals against average of 0.75 through four matches. If the Steel want to get on the scoreboard, they’ll have to get past the steady hands of Kuzminsky.
Vincenzo Candela – Also now in his second season with the Battery, Candela played a big part defensively for the club in 2018. The Colombian midfielder ranked highly among Battery midfielders in tackles, clearances and interceptions last season, becoming known for causing problems in the midfield for opposing attacks.
Michael Anhaeuser – Michael Anhaeuser has been a part of the Battery technical staff for 21 seasons, serving as the Head Coach since 2006 and as an assistant coach from 1999 through the start of the 2006 USL season before that. In 2007 Anhaeuser was named the USL1 Coach of the Year and in 2008 he led the Battery to the final of the US Open Cup as the Charleston Battery became only the second non-MLS side to reach the final since the inception of Major League Soccer. Anhaeuser won his first USL Championship as a head coach in 2010 as the Battery topped long-time rival the Richmond Kickers 2-1 in the USL2 Championship game. Two years later, Anhaeuser won his second title in three seasons as the Charleston Battery defeated the Wilmington Hammerheads by a score of 1-0 in the 2012 USL PRO Championship game.