Match Preview: Charleston Battery at Ottawa Fury FC
The Charleston Battery travels to Canada to take on Ottawa Fury FC Saturday afternoon at TD Place Stadium. Heading into the final game of the regular season, the Battery is locked into fourth place regardless of Saturday's result.
Ottawa will be looking to secure a place in the playoffs on the final day of the season. They currently sit in ninth place two points behind eighth-place Bethlehem Steel FC and three points behind seventh-place Nashville SC. Ottawa needs a win and some help from either Tampa Bay Rowdies or FC Cincinnati to make the USL playoffs for the first time.
The Battery enters the match following back-to-back losses. Charleston lost to two teams in the bottom three of the Eastern Conference in consecutive weeks, surrendering one-goal leads to Toronto FC II at home and Atlanta United 2 away.
Ataulla Guerra scored his team-high 15th goal of the season in the 2-1 loss to Atlanta last Sunday, finishing a cutback from Angelo Kelly. Despite being called into the Trinidad and Tobago National Team for a friendly this weekend, Guerra will be available for selection on Saturday due to travel issues getting to Thailand.
The goal against Atlanta was Guerra's first since August 25. Patrick Okonkwo stepped up in Guerra's absence, scoring five goals in his last eight matches. The 19-year old striker scored his first professional goal against the New York Red Bulls II and has continued to provide a spark in the attacking third during the final stretch of the season.
Saturday's match will give the Battery an opportunity to right the ship defensively prior to the playoffs. Before dropping three points to Toronto two weeks ago, the Battery hadn't lost a match in which they scored the opening goal. Despite the back-to-back losses, Charleston still ranks among the USL's best in clean sheets and goals against average.
Following the match in Ottawa, the Battery will host an Eastern Conference Quarterfinal match on October 20 at MUSC Health Stadium. The opponent for that match will be either New York Red Bulls II, Indy Eleven, Nashville SC, or Bethlehem Steel FC depending on this weekend's results.
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