The Charleston Battery open their 2017 as they opened last year. Home to FC Cincinnati, as part of four of their first five, and six of their first ten, at home. Given their notably good home form, (As shown by a nearly year-long unbeaten streak that ended midway through last year) this could prove vital to a possible playoff run.
In the first two months of the year, their only away-days come against Southern Derby rivals Charlotte Independence and the Tampa Bay Rowdies, who join the league from the NASL, before visiting the Harrisburg City Islanders, Bethlehem Steel, and last year’s league winners New York Red Bulls in the space of a week between May 20th and May 28th.
June kicks off with a meeting against Louisville City FC, before the first clash against rivals Richmond Kickers on June 10th. They’ll face Cincinnati again, as well as Toronto FC II to close June, before games against Tampa and Louisville take us into the middle of summer in July.
Things get tricky after that, with another three-game road stretch in 11 days against St. Louis FC, Tampa again, and the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. Thankfully, this will be the last long stretch without a home game, but things don’t exactly get easier from there.
The month of August, which could make or break a potential playoff run, is particularly unkind. The month starts with Toronto FC II away from home, before facing New York Red Bulls II at home, but away against Rochester Rhinos, another league stalwart, and finishing the month at the Richmond Kickers.
September lets up a little bit, with two home and away games each. Charlotte and Richmond visit Charleston in between trips to Louisville and Orlando, before another tough month as the Battery travel to Ottawa, their last home game coming against Harrisburg City Islanders, before concluding the year against Charlotte Independence.
The Battery’s home form will be especially important, especially given that tough August, and the two long road trips. The pre-season starts with the Carolina Challenge Cup next month, before business properly begins on March 25th.
COVER IMAGE CREDIT ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY