The Charleston Battery dropped their second game in as many weeks in a two-nil home defeat against Memphis 901 FC. The Patriots Point faithful were out in full force with a packed crowd of over 3,000 on hand for Healthcare Heroes Night. Memphis tallied two goals in the first half, by Luiz Fernando and Jeremy Kelly, that proved to be enough for the night. Charleston pressed to get back into the game after 901 FC were reduced to 10 men in the 81st minute, but were unable to capitalize on advantage.
Action started amid windy and cloudy conditions in the Lowcountry. Memphis were eager to start the match on the front foot, testing goalkeeper Hugo Fauroux early. The French shot-stopper was unfazed, however, and would make three saves against 901 FC in the first 15 minutes of play. Memphis’ Laurent Kissiedou looked to find a way around Fauroux in the 18th with a shot from the center circle that would hit the crossbar. The visitors would hit the woodwork again minutes later to deny a looping header attempt by Niall Logue.
Despite the resolute defensive performance in the early stages of the first half, Charleston were unable to make much progress to threaten in Memphis’ defensive third. The visitors pulled ahead just past the half-hour mark when Luiz Fernando found the back of the net. Fernando was unmarked as Memphis caught the back line out of position and was able to redirect the incoming cross for a goal. Memphis added a second in the 40th minute via Jeremy Kelly, whose advance drew appeals from the Battery for an offside call but the referee’s flag stayed down.
Although the visitors took 0-2 advantage into the break, possession for the half was relatively even at 48% to 52% in favor of 901 FC.
Play resumed with the Battery making four substitutions in effort to find a breakthrough in the contest, with EJ Johnson, Geobel Perez, Romario Piggott and Tristan Weber entering the fray off the bench. The Battery saw initial success in pressing forward against Memphis and would hold a slim majority of possession throughout the half. Matt Sheldon led an advance in the 56th minute from the right side to get to the edge of the box before playing the ball to Perez. Geoebel then sent in a cross that was caught by goalkeeper Andrew Romig, but it was the first promising look for Charleston of the night.
On the other end, Fauroux continued his relatively strong night with another save just past the hour mark – he tallied five saves during the contest. Johnson began applying pressure and registered a shot from just outside the box, a right-footed attempt that curled away from the right post.
Memphis were reduced the 10 men in the 81st minute when Logue was issued his second yellow card of the night and dismissed from the contest as a result. Charleston aimed to make the most of the one-man advantage and began applying heavy pressure into Memphis’ defensive third. The best chance of the night came when Perez nearly had a goal from a Sheldon pass into the box. It was a shot on target, but Romig managed to get a hand on the ball at the last second before the attempt could cross the goal line.
Johnson and Perez would continue to lead the press up top in the waning moments of the match. The Battery additionally had a handful of free-kick looks near the box, but were unable to pull a goal back. Memphis would see out the 0-2 victory despite Charleston’s pressure.
Battery Head Coach Conor Casey rendered his verdict on the night.
“I am embarrassed for the performance, embarrassed for the heart that we’ve shown,” said Coach Casey. “We came out flat and were flat all night, and it’s extremely it’s disappointing. The fans deserve better and, ultimately, I understand that I’m responsible.”
The Battery tactician applauded the home support once again while admitting the play on the pitch must meet that same level.
“The fans have been incredible, and we’re doing everything we can to try and put a better product on the field because they deserve it,” said Coach Casey. “We let them down big time tonight.”
Joe Schmidt echoed much of the Charleston manager’s frustration on the evening.
“We weren’t sharp throughout the first half and that’s on us,” said Schmidt. “We came out really slow and lethargic.”
On the second half, Schmidt said the team began to find their footing.
“I thought the second half went relatively well, but it was too little too late,” said Schmidt. “We moved better but we couldn’t find the goal, so it was a disappointing night. We’ll try to move forward now.”
Charleston stay at Patriots Point and will look to rebound at home on Saturday, May 14, against New Mexico United in the “Black and Yellow Derby”. Tickets for match are available on SeatGeek.com, the club’s exclusive digital ticketing provider.