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How you Doin': Charleston Battery

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We caught up with Carson Merk of Dynamo Theory who gave us some insight on Toronto FC II's opponent for their first ever match: Charleston Battery.

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Even before they became the official USL affiliate of the Houston Dynamo, the Charleston Battery had a long and successful history in the lower levels of American professional soccer. As a result, they will provide an incredibly difficult opponent for Toronto FC's own USL pro affiliate: Toronto FC II. In their first ever game, TFC2 will come up against a team with far more experience and history.

Waking the Red talked to Carson Merk (@BringTheAction8), who is covering the Charleston Battery for Dynamo Theory, SB Nation's Houston Dynamo blog, to get a clearer picture of what TFC2 will be up against when they kick off their season today. There are the three questions we asked him.

1. The Battery finished fifth in the league last season and have traditionally been one of the stronger sides in the league. Are they expected to once again be a playoff contender this year?

The Battery are absolutely a playoff contender. As you eluded to, they are usual towards the top of the standings and with this year's club, I expect no different. Obviously adding as many teams as the USL did, that will present a new challenge, but this year's club has a solid, talented core, GREAT depth, and the usual great coaching of Mike Anhaeuser.

2. The Houston Dynamo have elected to rely on a partnership with Charleston this year rather than field their own USL Pro team. Was their talk of Houston putting together their own squad or do they seem happy with this arrangement moving forward?

The rumored plan is still for the Dynamo to have their own USL club by next season. But if you had to choose a current USL club to align with, there is no better choice then the Charleston Battery. An annual contender, great stability in the front office and staff, amazingly loyal support groups ( Queen Anne's Revenge, The Regiment and more) and unique, beautiful facilities. Loaning players out, you have no doubt that they will be coached and handled in a professional, fun and successful manner.

3. Who are the Dynamo players that we will likely see in action on Saturday? Is there anyone else that Toronto fans would be wise to keep an eye out for in this game?

Memo Rodriguez and Oumar Ballo are the two Dynamo loanees you might have a chance to see Saturday. Memo is a product of the Homegrown Player variety. A very creative, talented passer in the midfield. Ballo is a rookie from UMBC and a great 6'2'' athlete on the backline. They are both at positions of depth for the Battery so I wouldn't be shocked if you didn't see either on the pitch against Toronto. Some players to keep an eye on: midfielder Justin Portillo, the Battery Newcomer of the Year last year, goalkeeper Odisnel "El Gato" Cooper, and Jamaican forward Dane Kelly. Another guy to keep an eye on would be Austin Savage. He was a training camp invitee who has a penchant for finding the net, as he did multiple times in preseason friendlies.

Lineup Predictions?

My lineup prediction would be Obi Woodbine and Quinton Griffith at fullback, Taylor Mueller and Shawn Ferguson at CB, Portillo and captain Jarad van Schaik at defensive midfield, Dante Marini, Zach Prince, Navion Boyd at the midfield and Dane Kelly upfront.