Battery to welcome FC Cincinnati to open 2018 season

For the third year in a row, the Charleston Battery will host FC Cincinnati in their first league match of the year, as confirmed by a list of Home Openers released by the league.

This comes after the announcements of conference realignments in the league as they welcome six new teams. Four new sides, Fresno FC, Las Vegas Lights FC, Nashville FC and Atlanta United 2, which effectively ends the Battery’s two year affiliation with the club. Two former NASL sides have also joined, North Carolina FC opening the door for a new rivalry for the Battery, and Indy Eleven.

On the other side of the coin, however, three teams will not be returning in the new year. Orlando City B and the Rochester Rhinos are taking a hiatus in 2018, while the Vancouver Whitecaps II have folded. Additionally, the Harrisburg City Islanders have rebranded and become Penn FC, in affiliation with the Rush Soccer group.

The full USL schedule has yet to be announced, but round three of the Battery-Cincy opener clash will this year be highlighted by the returns of Forrest Lasso, who joined FC Cincy in the offseason, and Tommy Heinemann, who won the league with the Battery in 2010 and has spent time after that in both MLS and NASL, coming off a title winning season with the San Francisco Deltas, where he scored a goal in the Final to help the Deltas to glory in their first and only season in the league.

Like the Battery, Cincy will be without several key players from last year in Harrison Delbridge, Andrew Wiedeman, Djibi Fall, Mitch Hildebrandt, Austin Berry and Paul Nicholson. but have kept a strong core and added other key pieces.

The two previous openers between the sides have featured really good games, and tight ones at that, and with the added storyline of two players returning to their former home, this promises to be another interesting prospect.

The Charleston Battery open their 2018 season at home to FC Cincinnati on March 17th.

TOP IMAGE: FORREST LASSO (NOW OF FC CINCINNATI) CHALLENGES FOR A HEADER IN LAST YEAR’S OPENER. PHOTO CREDIT ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY

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Striker Svantesson brings height, goals to 2018 Battery

The Charleston Battery have announced the signing of striker Ian Svantesson ahead of the 2018 season on a one year deal.

Svantesson led the Tulsa Roughnecks with 11 goals on the way to a playoff berth in the west, and also was amongst the team leaders in chances created, minutes per goal and key passes. The signing makes perfect sense for the Black and Yellow following the departures of Romario Williams and Heviel Cordoves, given the Battery’s use of strong and powerful center forwards.

It’s also worth noting that Svantesson played with Joe Kuzminski in college at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, Kuzminski a Junior during Svantesson’s Senior year in 2015, and also with Jarad van Schaik with Rayo OKC in 2015, his first year as a pro. Coach Anhaeuser puts a lot of stock in togetherness, and will no doubt be hoping his old teammates can help him settle into his new surroundings.

Svantesson is a part of the squad along with nine of the 2017 squad which finished 2nd in the East, along with the aforementioned Kuzminski, and van Schaik, along with defenders Quinton Griffith, Skylar Thomas, and captain Taylor Mueller, and midfielders Tah Brian Anunga, Naveal Hackshaw, Kotaro Higashi, and Attaula Guerra.

The Battery will next look to open trials to add to their ranks, which take place on January 26th and 27th, with a second pair of dates from February 9th and 10th before a combine shortly before this year’s edition of the Carolina Challenge Cup. The Battery have signed at least one player from the open trials since they first began in 2002.

You can view some of the best of what our new signing could offer on the club’s website.