Charleston Battery vs. Oakland Roots – Match Preview (August 4, 2023)

Roots fans it is, surprisingly, game day! The Roots play at 4:30 p.m. Pacific away at Charleston Battery and the game will be available on ESPN+ and KTVU Plus. The official watch party, for those whose work schedules will allow it, will be at Line 51 in Jack London Square.

The Club

This is the first time the Roots are facing Charleston Battery, and that means we get to do a deep-dive on a new club!

Charleston Battery were founded in 1993, which makes them older than MLS. They were founded by Tony Bakker, the founder of Blackbaud, a Charleston-based financial services provider, about which I HAVE NO FORMAL POSITION AND WILL PROVIDE NO FURTHER COMMENT. Battery joined USISL, the predecessor to USL, and claim to be the first non-MLS team to build its own stadium (in 1999).

Battery reached as US Open Cup final in 2008, losing to D.C. United. Battery declined to join the breakaway NASL in 2010–probably a good move.

In 2019 the team was bought by Rob Salvatore, who ran Tongal (a “platform for content creation”) for ten years. I can’t figure out from the SEC website who he donates to. He owns the club through “HCFC, LLC.” Apparently Charleston calls itself the “Holy City.”

Thanks, I hate it.

On the other hand, I’m also very dubious of the politics of “the Battery.”

Per this website (which cites the Battery’s PR Department), this was the original crest, designed by the head coach’s wife (name not given by website.

A brief aside about their advertisement for their soccer-specific stadium:

“Located minutes from downtown, match day will never be the same as beautiful views of the harbor compliment the beautiful game on the field. “

What does this sentence mean? Anyway, the team plays in Mount Pleasant, the place where the first public meeting was held voting for secession.

The crest was redone in 2019, to a sleeker version of the same idea: says that the two cannons “relate to the club’s name and Charleston’s historic legacy (‘Battery’ meaning ‘the men who manned the cannons’ during the Civil War).” Okay, guys, but which cannons? This is an important question for how shitty this is. Because the really famous cannons were the ones that traitor slavers were firing towards Fort Sumter (where the U.S. Army was stationed). There’s also “The Battery” which is a “landmark defensive seawall and promenade” named for a civil-war coastal defense artillery battery. Both options are pretty lost cause-y.

Around the Western Conference


Last weekend could have gone worse than it did. RGV wrecked El Paso 5-2, despite going down in the third minute on a penalty and then going down 2-1 in the 16th. The Roots’ loss to RGV is looking better but the win over El Paso is looking worse so :shrug emoji:. Phoenix won 2-0 in Monterey, 10-man New Mexico lost 1-0 in Orange County and San Diego won 2-0 at home to Colorado Springs in the other 6-point matches of the weekend. Sac beat Vegas 2-1 and San Antonio won 5-2 over Hartford behind four goals from their striker Tani Oluwaseyi (a loanee from Minnesota United).

The Roots’ draw leaves them susceptible to getting jumped when other teams play their games in hand, but the overall parity also means anything up to second is easily still within reach if the Roots take care of business. First isn’t even out of reach, but Sac don’t really look like slowing down.

Battery’s Form

There is no arguing with Battery’s results so far this season. They are 11-6-5 and sit second on the Eastern Conference table (although could go to first or as low as third based on games in hand). However, the weakness is obvious–Charleston’s goal differential is +2 after 22 games, which is especially questionable since they don’t even have a particularly stingy defense (bottom third). However, as Aaron said on this week’s pod, that GD is heavily influenced by a 7-0 shellacking by San Antonio in Charleston and a 4-0 whipping by Indy Eleven also at home. There are no particularly bad stretches of Charleston’s season, because even those two bad results came sandwiched in a run of three wins and a draw.

Charleston last lost 3-2 away at Memphis on June 24. They followed that with a 3-0 over Loudoun, a 1-1 draw away to Indy, and a 1-1 draw away to Miami. On July 22, Charleston beat Pittsburgh, their competitor for the top spot in the east, 3-1 at home. The highlights from this one are awesome. Charleston keeper Trey Muse stood on his head a couple times, there were tons of shots on target that were just pushed wide. The winning goal, the 2-0 from Williams, appeared to be offside. Williams wrecked the offside trap for the third goal, and although his shot was stopped it bounced back to another Battery player who was able to simply walk it in. Riverhounds got one back in the 71st, but could not muster another to make it close. In the 89th Dikwa got mugged from behind running into the box and, to his credit, chose to stay on his feet, and was rewarded with his shot blocked and the official I guess deciding that it should not be a red card and either a free kick or a penalty. A bizarre decision, and Pittsburgh fans are going to feel that this one was not fairly decided.

This past weekend, Charleston went on the road to Birmingham Legion (6th in the East) and won again, this time 2-1. The opener came from Birmingham’s Prosper Kasim and some great interplay resulting in Kasim springing free past the defense from half-field and coolly beating Trey Muse one-on-one. It took Charleston until the 82nd minute to equalize, on a shot from the corner of the box that just bounced the right way in off the far post. Nine minutes later, in the first minute of stoppage time, Derek Dodson won it for Battery, nodding in an Augie Williams cross.

Roots’ Form

March 11at San Antonio FCL13
March 19at RGV TorosD11
April 1vs New Mexico UnitedW10
April 8at Indy ElevenW30
April 15vs HartfordL12
April 23at LoudounL02
April 29vs Miami FCD00
May 6at Birmingham LegionW41
May 13vs Orb CountyW30
May 20at SacramentoL13
May 27vs San Diego LoyalW20
June 2at Colorado Springs SwitchbacksW10
June 10at Phoenix RisingD22
June 17vs Pittsburgh RiverhoundsD00
June 24vs Phoenix RisingD11
June 28vs RGV TorosL02
July 8at Tampa Bay RowdiesL03
July 12vs. Memphis 901 (rescheduled)D11
July 15at Monterey Bay Union F.C. of SeasideW31
July 22at El Paso LocomotivW31
July 26vs Las Vegas LightsW10
July 29vs Detroit CityD11
August 4at Charleston Battery
August 19vs Colorado Springs Switchbacks
August 23at New Mexico United
August 26at Louisville City
September 2vs Sacramento
September 9at Las Vegas Lights
September 16vs FC Tulsa
September 23vs Monterey Bay Union F.C. of Seaside
September 30vs San Antonio FC
October 4at Orb County
October 7at Loyal
October 14El Paso Locomotiv

I recommend watching 87 seconds of these highlights.

Cedeño pressured Detroit right from the kickoff, leading to a dumb pass that Morad intercepted and sent back to Cedeño at midfield. Cedeño found Reid streaking through the middle. Reid waited until half of the double-cover on Johnny ahead of him slowed up to pressure Reid, and then he passed through to Johnny. Johnny took two touches and whipped a shot to the corner–unsavable from 25 yards. Four-and-a-half minutes later, a Detroit corner kick got all the way through to a flat-footed Nane, who could not do anything to stop Detroit’s Stephen Carroll from heading it in.

In the 72nd minute, Paul Blanchette again established himself as man of the match and potentially player of the season.

The second half wasn’t great from Oakland, and the early pressure they were putting Detroit under essentially melted away. This is a different team without Tamacas, and playing without Lindo as well really limited the Roots’ creative options.

Players to Watch

Augustine Williams #9 – Williams is a tall, pacey striker who was signed by Portland Timbers when he was 19 but never managed to really crack the senior squad. He then moved to Galaxy II and was promoted for 2021 but got relatively little game time before a loan to San Diego Loyal. The loan meant that the Roots saw him four times in 2021, once for Galaxy II and thrice for Loyal. He scored a brace in the Roots’ 4-3 win at the end of the season that you might recall for that Akeem Ward goal. Williams scored 16 goals in his debut season with Charleston in 2022, tied for fifth in USL. He is tied with Johnny and several others for 6th in goals this season with 9. Williams has six caps for the Sierra Leone National team. Williams also played for the (apparently defunct) Alliance FC in Hayward, California before signing with Portland.

Fidel Barajas #11 – Fidel Barajas is a 17-year-old midfielder from Sacramento with 19 appearances for the Mexico u17 team and 5 appearances for the US u17 team. He was on the Mexico u17 team that won the 2023 CONCACAF Fu17 championships. How did he end up at Charleston? He had been in both San Jose and Sac’s youth teams, but was offered a professional contract by Charleston last September, and getting USL action within a month of signing. Barajas leads USL with 7 assists, and appears to handle cornerkicks for Charleston when he is on the field. Maybe an MLS team will try to sign him before the match today.

Lineup and Score Predictions


The team’s travel pictures today did not show Lindo, so I am a little worried he is hurt, but he was in a training picture posted this week (that may or may not have been from this week). Tea leaves! Anyway, I think the team will suffer without Lindo, but if Tamacas is back starting I think our chances are fine. I said 2-2 on the pod, and I might be leaning a little more optimistic now, but for variety, I’ll stick with 2-2.


My one change from Peter’s lineup above is Napo Matsoso in for Danny Gomez. I certainly think Gomez is worthy of the start and debated over placing him in my lineup over Joseph Nane. In the end, I’m going with the veteran midfield combination. My score prediction: 2-1 Roots.


If its me, I’m not taking any chances with Lindo’s fitness, unless it was truly something very minor that kept him out of the DCFC match. I would compensate by starting every senior attacker available. If the Roots get a goal from Anuar, I think they win. 3-2 Oakland.

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