The Charleston Battery were shut out Saturday at Patriots Point in a 0-3 loss to Birmingham Legion FC. The turbulent evening started with thunderstorms and an hour-long weather delay, and the Battery were outshot 16-to-six while picking up eight yellow cards during the frustrating evening. The Black and Yellow created several chances in the match but could not break through the Birmingham defense.
After a one-hour lightning delay, Charleston and Birmingham kicked off the night at 9 p.m. ET under a light, but persistent, rainfall. Legion FC tested Battery goalkeeper Hugo Fauroux in the 4th minute with the first shot on target. The French shot-stopper made a strong save to deny Enzo Martinez. Both sides often had their advances hindered by the slick conditions on the field that caused the ball to play fast. Fauroux was called upon to make a diving stop in the 17th minute to keep Birmingham off the board.
Legion FC managed to score the opening goal in the 22nd minute when Jonathan Dean put the ball into the back of the net while sliding into the six-yard box. The Battery looked to counter for an equalizer but were dealt a blow when Mauro Cichero left the match due to an apparent injury following a collision with Mikey Lopez. Geobel Perez and Romario Piggott led the charge up top for Charleston. Aidan Apodaca, who replaced Cichero, also helped drive the side forward. Perez would register the Battery’s only shot on target of the half in the 30th minute.
Charleston went into halftime with a 0-1 deficit, but managed to retain 60% of possession.
Play resumed as the rain lightened up and with Birmingham eager to find another goal. Leland Archer came up with a big block to deny Birmingham a chance on goal in the first minute of the new half. The visitors were able to double their lead in the 48th minute when Martinez got behind the Battery back line to redirect a cross into the back of the net. Charleston aimed to respond quickly on the opposite side when Perez sent in another shot on target, but the attempt lacked the pace needed to get past goalkeeper Matt Van Oekel.
The Black and Yellow continued to press ahead to cut into Birmingham’s lead and had a pair of corner kicks around the hour mark. However, the hosts could not find the right combination to get a goal back. Legion FC added to their lead in the 71st minute when Ryan James flashed some skill to flick the ball off the far post and in. Among the bright spots of the second half was when Charlie Asensio made his club debut as a substitute, Asensio joined the Battery ahead of the match on loan from MLS side Austin FC. Frustrations began to mount for Charleston as they upped the intensity of their play but earned five yellow cards through the final 10 minutes of regulation.
Despite the Battery holding nearly 62% of possession and the majority of passes in the opposition half, Birmingham ended the night victorious as the final whistle blew.
Before discussing the match, Battery Head Coach Conor Casey expressed his gratitude to the fans who stayed for the game despite the one-hour weather delay.
“Thank you to all the fans for coming out and supporting us again, through the delay and rain,” said Coach Casey. “You all continue to bring great energy and we’re incredibly thankful for it.”
Coach Casey rendered his verdict on the night’s proceedings.
“We were very poor defending and not good with the ball tonight,” said Coach Casey. “I don’t know if the delay and weather conditions impacted us much, we’ve been poor all season and tonight was another example of us not playing well.”
Battery captain AJ Paterson echoed Coach Casey’s sentiment after the match.
“Our performance just wasn’t good enough on either end, we created chances we but didn’t put them away,” said Paterson. “Letting in three goals, you never set yourself up for success that way. [Birmingham] converted their chances and we didn’t, that was what it really came down to.”
Charleston will have another quick chance to bounce back when they head to Florida for a Wednesday match against Miami FC.
“In this profession, you have to have a short memory, this game is done,” said Paterson. “Not the result we wanted but we can’t just sit around and dwell on it. We have to pick ourselves up, travel to Miami, try to get a result and try to turn this season around, and that’s what we’re gonna do.”
After facing Miami on Wednesday, the Battery will quickly return to Patriots Point to take on Hartford Athletic on Saturday, July 16. Tickets for the Eastern Conference matchup are available via SeatGeek, the exclusive digital ticketing provider of the Charleston Battery.