The Charleston Battery host New Mexico United in the second edition of the “Black and Yellow Derby” on Saturday, May 14th. Kickoff at Patriots Point is slated for 7 pm.
Charleston and New Mexico met for the first time last season, a 2-1 result in favor of New Mexico at Isotopes Park in Albuquerque. Claudio Repetto netted an equalizer before halftime for the Battery, but a second-half goal from Devon Sandoval won the match for the hosts.
Since that first meeting, the two clubs have seen changes in the dugout. Both are led by first-year head coaches, Conor Casey for the Battery and Zach Prince for New Mexico. Fans will recall Prince from his seven-year spell with Charleston that included winning league titles in 2010 and 2012 after playing collegiately at the College of Charleston.
New Mexico are coming off their second-consecutive draw when they tallied a dramatic equalizer at the death against San Diego Loyal SC, a 1-1 home result. Harry Swartz did the honors to find the back of the net in the 94th minute, his third of the season. In addition to helping New Mexico steal a point, Swartz’ goal snapped his side’s three-game scoreless streak. To date, Saturday’s match will be the first outside of the Western Conference for New Mexico this season.
The Battery remain home after succumbing to Memphis 901 FC on Friday, a 0-2 result. Memphis were held in check for much of the first half by the Charleston defense but managed to find the back of the net on two plays in transition. Goalkeeper Hugo Fauroux tallied five saves in his first start in front of the home crowd. The Battery pressed to get back in the game after an array of halftime adjustments – led by substitutes Geobel Perez and EJ Johnson – but were unable to find the goal-scoring combination.
In addition to connection on the touchline, the ties between Charleston and New Mexico extend to the pitch itself in midfielders Justin Portillo and Michael Azira, and goalkeeper Alex Tambakis – all former Battery players now with New Mexico.
Both Charleston and New Mexico will look for turnarounds in their early seasons as both sides have been held without a win since mid-March.
Battery defender Matt Sheldon is nearing the century mark in career regular-season USL Championship appearances and currently sits at 97 heading into Saturday.
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