The Charleston Battery opened their 2023 season with a spirited 1-1 draw against Phoenix Rising FC on Saturday. After a scoreless first half, Charleston found the back of the net in the 60th minute via Andrew Booth. Phoenix would equalize nearly 15 minutes later through Danny Trejo to share the points. It was a rowdy crowd of over 3,500 at Patriots Point to kick off the club’s 30th anniversary season.
The first half played on scoreless with mostly half chances for both sides. The best looks for both teams came after the half-hour mark, goalkeeper Trey Muse was forced off his line to make an impressive stop against Rising FC’s Manuel Arteaga. The Battery almost ended the deadlock when Fidel Barajas hit Nick Markanich with a cross inside the box, but Markanich’s on-target effort was saved.
Charleston broke open the game in the 60th minute as Andrew Booth knocked in the first goal of the club’s 2023 season. The play began from a corner kick and that led to Augi Williams firing a short-range shot at goalkeeper Rocco Novo. Novo made the save, but Booth was quickest to the rebound and sent the ball into the back of the net.
Despite the Battery’s strong playing after the goal, Phoenix equalized in the 74th minute via Danny Trejo on a counterattack.
Charleston continued to fight through the final 90 minutes and into stoppage time. Emilio Ycaza received a Deklan Wynne cross in transition but his header was saved. Newly subbed on Tristan Trager fired a shot from the edge of the box that forced Novo to make a diving save.
The Battery made several advances inside the final third but the points were ultimately shared after five minutes of stoppage time played out, with a 1-1 draw to open the 2023 campaign.
Head Coach Ben Pirmann and midfielder Andrew Booth discussed the match after the final whistle.
Coach Pirmann on the team’s performance against Phoenix…
I’m so proud of this team, so proud of the club, I’m so proud of the community and the crowd. If we can do this 33 more times, we got a good team. For tonight, an excellent performance, played great and to the game plan. They put it on the line, I want our boys to play with bravery and courage, no doubt about it [they did].
Coach Pirmann on the team meeting his expectations…
I wanted three points, I thought we deserved it. Phoenix have a good team, they stuck with it, and they got the goal. A great performance from our staff, players, supporters and our community. We had four or five very good chances there, wish we could’ve set off a few more fireworks. But, a great game and a little bit unlucky for us.
Coach Pirmann on the team developing their identity through this first game…
I think so, hopefully you guys can feel it, the crowd can feel it. That’s what this is going to be. We want to work our tails off, we want teams to be miserable here, [Phoenix] are a very methodical build-up team, and they were frustrated, they had to make changes. We took them out of their game and played our game. When we’re here, we want everybody to know what the Black and Yellow are about.
Booth on mentality and fight of the squad at the very end…
I think that’s exactly the type of team you want to be. We want to be high energy. We want to work for each other. We always talk about how we want to be the hardest-working team on the field and that comes down to each individual being the hardest-working player. I think we showed that tonight.
Booth about scoring a goal in front of the Supporters Section…
I love scoring goals, so every goal is meaningful, even if no one sees it. It’s great that the fans were there and I got to score for the supporting sections. We hope that they’re here every week supporting.
Booth on the performance tonight setting the tone for the season…
I think [the performance] shows our character. I thought we were all over them. We were on the front foot, and especially at home, that’s the time to want to be. So, I think it definitely sets the tone going forward. We just have to take it from here.
The Battery head west for their next game against Sacramento Republic FC but will return to Patriots Point for the second home game of the season on Saturday, March 25, against the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Tickets are available now via SeatGeek.com, the Battery’s exclusive digital ticketing provider.
CHS – Andrew Booth (60′)
PHX – Danny Trejo (74′; Assist, Gabriel Torres)