CHARLESTON, SC July 27, 2014 – Just hours after taking a morale-boosting three points from visiting Arizona United on Saturday night, Charleston Battery players and staff boarded a plane bound for Montreal and a rare morning match with the Impact Reserves on Monday at 10:30 a.m.
The match was originally scheduled for Aug. 3 but was rescheduled last week to accommodate the Impact’s fixtures in CONCACAF Champions League. It will be broadcast live on 910 AM ESPN radio in Charleston, streaming online at www.charlestonsportsradio.com.
Monday’s game caps an eventful seven days for the Battery. The team played well in a 1-1 home draw with second-place Richmond on Tuesday, then built on that performance with a 2-0 win Saturday night against an Arizona United squad that was playing its second match in 24 hours. The two results moved Charleston to within three points of the final USL PRO playoff spot, but the race remains congested.
Montreal comes to the match in the midst of its own busy season. The first team hosts Portland Timbers tonight — three days after its 3-1 road loss to Real Salt Lake. The first team plays again at Stade Saputo on Saturday against rivals Tornoto FC, then hosts CCL opponents C.D. FAS of El Salvador on Tuesday, Aug. 5. Montreal wraps up the stretch with a trip to PPL Park on Aug. 9 for a date with Philadelphia Union.
That schedule — not unusual by USL PRO standards, but packed by MLS norms — makes it hard to predict what the Battery will face when the teams line up Monday morning. The first team is down five regulars for its contest with Portland, and with the technical staff managing its roster for the crowded calendar, who will suit up is anyone’s guess.
“It’s probably going to be a mixture of first-teamers, reserves, and possibly academy players,” Battery Coach Mike Anhaeuser said Saturday. “They’ve got to think about their schedule and their roster. Which is why we really can’t think about (who they’ll play). We’ve got to think about what we’re going to do, and then get it done.”
The Impact’s roster issues are nothing compared to the Battery’s. Loan recalls and transfers have reduced the squad to just 20 players, not all of whom are fit to play. And with Monday’s match set for Canada, the club left behind every player whose international travel status could cause them a problem getting through customs while entering or leaving the United States.
“You have these little issues that you get (with international travel), and you just have to treat it like you would if you had injuries,” Anhaeuser said. “It’s part of the game, and the other players have to step up.”
Anhaeuser said the team would travel with just 16 players. And with Cuban goalkeeper Odisnel Cooper staying behind, that means the team will hand the gloves to backup Eric Shannon, who has picked up invaluable experience in U.S. Open Cup and four league appearances.
The Battery will return to Charleston on Monday night. The team plays next at Rochester on Friday.