The week of returns continues for Memphis on Saturday night at AutoZone Park as they host the Ben Pirmann-led Charleston Battery in a matchup of two top-3 Eastern Conference clubs.
The Beale St. Boys are unbeaten in their last 11 games winners in six of their last seven matches, including an impressive 4-0 rout of FC Tulsa to move up to No. 3 in the Eastern Conference table.
Memphis’ biggest test of the season so far comes at the tail end of a stretch of three matches in seven days with familiar faces looking to temper 901 FC’s rise up the table.
Aaron Molloy, Nighte Pickering and company will look to push past former teammates like Trey Muse and Derek Dodson making their return to AutoZone Park for Ben Pirmann’s side focused on maintaining their position.
Charleston sits at the top of the Eastern Conference with an 8-4-4 overall record and -3 goal differential. Charleston has been strong on the road this season with a 5-1-1 record away from Patriots Point Soccer Stadium, most recently earning a road victory 4-3 over Hartford on Saturday.
At 7-2-4 with 25 points in 13 matches, a victory over Charleston could catapult the Beale St. Boys to the top spot in the Eastern Conference with three games in hand over the visitors.
Kickoff for the matchup is set for 7 p.m. at AutoZone Park. Fans can stream the match live on ESPN+ or WMC Bounce 5.2 locally.
On the Come Up
After two losses at home to start the season, Memphis 901 FC is undefeated in their last 11 USL Championship matches with a +17 goal differential in that time span. The run is the longest unbeaten streak in club history.
Memphis is climbing up the Eastern Conference table at No. 3 with 25 points and at least two games in hand over both Charleston Battery and Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC.
Versatile veteran Rodrigo da Costa joined Memphis 901 FC in a midseason acquisition, bringing his knack for scoring and distribution to one of the most dangerous attacking sides in the league.
The Brazilian international that holds FC Tulsa records for goals and assists has one score and one assist in just four matches with the club so far.
Score One for the Newcomer
Former top league midfielder Emerson Hyndman was called into the starting lineup for the first time in the club’s 4-0 victory over Tulsa, delivering the highlight of the night with a perfect one-touch strike into the back of the net from 30 yards out.
The Dallas, Texas native brings National Team, Scottish Premiership and MLS experience to a talented Memphis roster after playing a starting role for Head Coach Stephen Glass with Atlanta United.
Chances on Chances on Chances
Memphis now has two of the top creators in the league in Aaron Molloy and Rodrigo da Costa. Molloy and da Costa rank in the top-5 in chances created as Memphis stands toward the top in almost every offensive team metric.
Chances Created Leaderboard:
- Charlie Dennis – 39
- Aaron Molloy – 38
- Jack Gurr – 34
- Rodrigo da Costa – 32
The Kid is Cooking
Nighte Pickering has proven himself to be a dangerous presence near opposition final thirds. The 18-year-old striker leads the club along with Luiz Fernando and Rodrigo da Costa with four goals to go with three assists in USL competition along with his game-winning goal in the U.S. Open Cup victory over Atlanta United.
Pickering scored two goals in seven appearances in 2022, including a bicycle kick goal on debut, before being called up to the U.S. U-19 Youth National Team in the offseason.
Memphis leads the USL Championship in shots per 90 minutes and expected goals per match (2.00). The high powered offense is top-5 in final third entries and is the only club in the USL Championship to score a goal in every single regular season match this season.
Shots per 90 Leaderboard:
- Memphis – 13.92
- El Paso – 13.87
- San Antonio – 13.60
The Beale St. Prodigy
At 15 years and 149 days old, local academy signing Calvin Harrison became the youngest player to ever appear for Memphis 901 FC in his professional debut on Wednesday.
The high school sophomore signed an academy contract with the club last week after scoring 25 goals in 16 games as a freshman at Hernando High School.
Spreading the Wealth
Memphis hasn’t missed a step even with injuries to key players this season. 901 FC has had 12 different players find the back of the net and 11 assist others in scores this year.
Rece is Mr. Reliable
Top defender Rece Buckmaster is available to make his 100th USL Championship regular season appearance in Saturday’s match. Buckmaster has been a reliable piece on the backline during his time in Memphis, playing all but 99 possible minutes for 901 FC during the 2022 season.