The Charleston Battery has been nearly unbeatable at Blackbaud Stadium. But then again, the Battery has been pretty much unbeatable all season in the USL Second Division.
The Battery (5-0-1, 16 points) heads out for their first back-to-back road games this season, taking on Pittsburgh (0-2-3, 3 points) tonight, and then Harrisburg (0-4-1, 1 point) on Saturday. Both games are at 7 p.m.
Charleston Battery coach Mike Anhaeuser expects a stiff challenge from both clubs despite the fact that neither team has managed to record a regulation win this season.
"Any time you go on the road it presents its own unique issues," Anhaeuser said. "We'll definitely be out of our comfort zone. Pittsburgh and Harrisburg both play on field turf so that will be different than what we're used to at (Blackbaud Stadium). They're going to be in front of their home fans and they're going to want to put on a good show."
While most teams tend to crawl into a defensive shell on the road, Anhaeuser said the Battery will continue to push the ball forward.
"We've got a deep team and a team that can score goals," Anhaeuser said. "We need to defend properly. That's our first priority. But we're also not going to shy away from pushing the ball up the field and creating some quality scoring chances."
This is the third time this season the Battery has faced the Riverhounds. Charleston and Riverhounds played to a scoreless draw in the home opener for the Battery in April. The Battery beat the Riverhounds, 2-1, last Saturday night. Earlier this month, the Battery beat Harrisburg, 3-1.
"We've had some success against both clubs, but we've played them both at home," Anhaeuser said. "Obviously, we're pretty familiar with Pittsburgh having played them this past weekend, so they know our strengths and weaknesses."
Stephen Armstrong, who missed this past Saturday night's game with the Riverhounds with a sore thigh muscle, should play in at least one game over the weekend. Armstrong, 33, has started five games this season and is second on the team in scoring with a goal and two assists.
"Stephen has been training this week, but this early in the season you don't want to push him to play in back-to-back games and risk aggravating the injury more," Anhaeuser said. "He'll definitely play, but we're not sure how much. He might go 45 minutes in both games."
The only player that will not be available this weekend is midfielder John Gruenewald, who remains sidelined with a hip-flexor strain he suffered in the preseason.