NYRB II continue their "historic" season by traveling to the oldest soccer specific stadium on Apr. 18 for their next USL match.
Despite popular belief the team will not be in Columbus, OH this weekend, but rather playing a USL match at Blackbaud Stadium against the Charleston Battery.
What is a Charleston Battery? According to wikipedia they are a soccer team formed in 1993, three years before MLS kicked off. It's a classic tale of young upstart meets established established veteran in a... oh my god shut up and just tell the readers about the upcoming USL opponent.
Ahead of this week's match, Once a Metro spoke to Carson Merk over at Dynamo Theory about the Battery who are 3-0 on the year so far.
On the team's hot start:
There's not really one thing that can be pinpointed as the reason for the hot start, but I think opportunistic scoring and great goalkeeping are two strong points. It truly varies week by week, because in the first 2 games, GK Odisnel Cooper led the USL in saves but the next week the defense stonewalled Harrisburg City and Cooper only had to make one save. Just a strong effort over 3 games with contributions from a lot of players.
On playoff ambitions:
The playoffs are realistic for this team. Starting 3-0 is obviously a great foundation, but everyone knows, it's a long season. Keeping very low numbers on the scoreboard for your opponents is a darn good formula for being successful, and when you have a great keeper like Cooper, your chances of doing that increase.
On the Dynamo's relationship with Charleston:
Houston has two loanees currently with Charleston. It appears to be set for those two to stay down there. Those two players are Homegrown product midfielder Jose"Memo" Rodriguez and rookie defender Oumar Ballo, out of UMBC. So far, Memo has received playing time in every game and has done a great job of pressuring the ball and adding energy as a late sub. Ballo hasn't seen game action yet, but is a powerful, athletic player on the backline.
Three players to watch:
If I had to choose 3, it would be GK Odisnel "El Gato" Cooper, Maikel Chang and Heviel Cordoves, who ironically are also the club's 3 Cuban players. Chang has become a star in the midfield leading the USL in assists. Cordoves, whether starting or subbing in at forward, has been excellent. And El Gato is a very consistently great keeper for Charleston, with cat-like reflexes, hence the nickname El Gato!
How can NYRB II beat the Battery?
There's not a huge flaw to attack, I'd just say hope you put one past El Gato and have a strong defensive match!
What is the Battery's preferred formation?
They use the 4-2-3-1 almost exclusively which is not the same as the Dynamo's varying formations.
If the Charleston Battery were an actual battery, what battery would they be?
I would say a solid double-A. Nothing too fancy, but gets the job done everytime!
Most importantly, what is Carson's favorite installment in the Fast and the Furious franchise?
I am the least knowledgable guy about cars on the planet and I have no interest in learning, so those movies don't appeal a ton to me. I have seen a few of them and if I had to give you an answer, I'd say numero uno because it started the whole shebang. And of course, rest in peace to the late great Paul Walker.
We'll make sure Lester Townsend doesn't read that first sentence.