Shout out to Scott Goodwin as he goes from Scotty Goodwin to Doctor Goodwin! We here at the Coopers and all over the Purple community wish him the best as he closes one chapter to start another. Good Luck Scotty and thanks for the many memories!
The boys in purple are back in action for the last of our four-game home stretch on Saturday. This time we welcome Charleston Battery to Slugger Field. LCFC is coming into the game with a 15 game unbeaten streak, and will look to continue their dominant run. LCFC is still at the top of the USL Eastern Conference with 38 points through 17 games. The Battery are coming off a 2-0 victory over Richmond, and are on a 3 game winning streak. The Battery are currently 4th with 30 points through 16 games. Let’s take a look at the keys to the match.
The main key for Charleston will be to continue to share the ball. 21 goals off 15 assists is quite good. The Battery midfield definitely knows how to control a game if given space and opportunity to look for options. Their midfield that has been solid for several seasons now. They are strong and do not give the ball up to much when pushed around.
Charleston have always been a physical team, especially in defense. Look for Hoffman or whoever plays up front to have a boxing match (not literally) with their defense. Charleston’s identity as a team is founded on defense. Their front line, however, has scored 7 goals and has 1 assist (that is Romario Williams alone). The support team of Taylor Mueller and Justin Portillo have scored 7 goals and had 5 assists ( the whole team has scored 21 these 3 make up 14 of them!). These guys are the players to watch. If any team has a chance of breaking Louisville City’s unbeaten streak (besides NYRBII), it is Charleston. They have improved since the 2-0 defeat to LCFC at home.
In the words of Chandler Hoffman “We have to put them away.” This is something we have struggled with in the last 2 games. City failed to put FCC away, and luckily our 2 goal lead held against Montreal.
Hoffman is right. A championship caliber team needs to put away games and never give the other team a real “light of day” chance. The best champions in any sport nearly run away with the title unless they choke (Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors anyone?). The best champions also never back down from a goal deficit either. Take the treble-winning side of Manchester United. They may have fallen behind in all 3 championship games, but responded with goals and wins, and the rest is history. This is what LCFC has yet to do that can make them a legendary team.
Having said that, one thing I will say is the defense last game was superb. If we continue the solid defensive performances over the next few games there is no reason we cannot win the title outright (keeping in mind the Red Bulls are still 2 games behind us). One LCFC has over any team is they share with us their emotions, something you can’t say with other professional teams. We felt the loss to the eventual champions, the loss and happiness to Chicago Fire (I say happiness cause the MLS is supposed to be so much better than the USL but we showed them that’s not always the case). We feel what the players feel; we know their pain and their happiness. Take Goodwin’s last game, we all felt the pride and happiness that the fans and players felt for his departure. This is something we cannot get in any other place.
This game is one of the harder one to predict as Charleston has improved a lot since that loss to LCFC. LCFC have also strung together some impressive performances recently, minus the FCC game. The game will be a complete mystery, as Charleston has looked like a great playoff team as had LCFC, with neither really having a largely visible fault. Look for LCFC to attack the wing and get crosses in the box as they always do. Look for the Battery to attack from the midfield forward in the middle of the pitch. From what I have seen, LCFC have the stronger midfield and frontline, but backline is a defiant toss-up. These teams are very evenly matched and the game will be decided by whoever slips up mentally more than physically. That or a flip of a coin if that’s a better visual for you. Either way this is a game you don’t want to miss! Come on you boys in Purple!!!