The Charleston Battery's Fidel Barajas enters Friday night's contest with Indy Eleven tied for the Championship lead with four assists this season. | Photo courtesy Michael Wiser / Charleston Battery
Current USL Championship Eastern Conference leaders the Charleston Battery will look to add to a two-game winning streak as they feature in a Friday night doubleheader against Indy Eleven before Western Conference playoff contenders Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC and Oakland Roots SC meet in the nightcap to kick off the new month’s action.
Here's a look ahead at the action.
Venue: Patriots Point
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET
538.com Predictor: CHS 47%, IND 26%, Draw 28%
The Lowdown: The Charleston Battery will try to extend their lead at the top of the Eastern Conference when they play host to an Indy Eleven side that is looking to bounce back as it heads to the Lowcountry. The Battery (7-2-3, 24pts) took a 2-0 victory against Rio Grande Valley FC last Saturday night as Augustine Williams scored both goals and Trey Muse earned Championship Player of the Week honors with a 10-save shutout to stifle the Toros. Williams’ brace moved him to 60 regular season goals in the Championship for his career, and helped the Battery secure their seventh win of the season, surpassing the club’s regular season total of a season ago in the biggest turnaround of the season so far. Indy (3-5-3, 12pts) suffered a 1-0 defeat to rival Louisville City FC at Michael A. Carroll Stadium, breaking a run of five consecutive games in which the side had found the net. The Boys in Blue are now in eighth place in the Eastern Conference having alternated wins and losses in their past four games, but the side swept the series between these clubs a season ago, scoring four goals in each encounter including a 4-3 victory at Patriots Point. The Battery will be aiming to reverse that result with its defense having posted shutouts in three of its past four league outings.
Charleston Battery – Augustine Williams: The Sierra Leone forward not only leads the Battery with seven goals this season in the league but had three goals in two games against Indy a season ago despite the side’s two defeats.
Indy Eleven – Sebastian Guenzatti: The veteran forward has scored seven goals against the Battery in 14 regular season appearances at a strike rate of a goal every 140.9 minutes in his career, a record he’ll be eager to add to here.
Venue: Weidner Field
Kickoff: 9 p.m. ET
538.com Predictor: COS 48%, OAK 25%, Draw 27%
The Lowdown: Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC will try to get back on a winning track as they return home to face an Oakland Roots SC side that has started to make a move up the Western Conference standings in the past month. The Switchbacks (5-6-1, 16pts) suffered a fourth consecutive defeat last Saturday night in a 2-1 setback to the Tampa Bay Rowdies, a game that marked the club’s third in a row on the road against Eastern Conference opposition. El Salvador international Jairo Henriquez found the net late for Colorado Springs, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a pair of first-half goals by the hosts at Al Lang Stadium. The Switchbacks have taken seven points from four home games so far this season, however, and took a win and a draw against Roots SC last season when the clubs met for the first time in league play. Oakland (5-4-2, 17pts) jumped ahead of the Switchbacks into fifth place in the Western Conference last Saturday, however, with a 2-0 victory against San Diego Loyal SC that saw Johnny Rodriguez score early and Anuar Pelaez late to earn the side its third win in the last four outings. Rodriguez is now tied for the club lead with Dariusz Formella, both of whom have four goals this season, while goalkeeper Paul Blanchette leads the Championship on 41 saves after posting his fifth shutout of the season last weekend.
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC – Oskar Ågren: The Swedish center back has been a solid addition to the club on loan from the San Jose Earthquakes and could have an important role to play as the Switchbacks look for a first shutout since April 8.
Oakland Roots SC - Neveal Hackshaw: The Trinidad and Tobago international has settled well into the Roots SC starting lineup and could square off against former Charleston Battery teammate Romario Williams, currently Colorado Springs’ leading goalscorer.