The Charleston Battery defeated Monterey Bay FC, 1-0, on Saturday in front of a packed house at Patriots Point. It was the first-ever meeting between the two clubs and Arturo Rodriguez’s early goal proved to be the difference-maker. Charleston held MBFC without many opportunities for much of the match to see out the victory. The Battery’s victory affirmed their spot atop the Eastern Conference.
Saturday’s contest began with both teams looking to create chances to score early. The Battery broke open the game in the 8th minute when Arturo Rodriguez slotted a close-range strike into the net. The play was initiated by Derek Dodson, who crossed to ball to Fidel Barajas, and Barajas assisted his compatriot, Rodriguez. The goal was Rodriguez’s second of the season and the assist was Barajas’ fourth.
As of writing, Barajas’ assist sees him lead the league in assists so far this season.
Charleston kept up the tempo and pressured MBFC heavily as the half wore on. Barajas nearly added a second goal minutes after Rodriguez’s but the shot was wide. Augustine Williams also came close to scoring in the 19th minute with a header that was saved.
The Battery took a 1-0 lead into the interval. Charleston dominated possession, shots on target and passes in the opposition’s half of the field in the first half.
Play resumed in the second half with Charleston bringing the same tempo from the first 45 minutes. Dante Polvara came close to doubling the Battery’s lead with a strike off a volley that forced Carlos Herrera to make an athletic save in the 51st minute.
As the latter stages of the match wore on, Charleston continued to tighten their grip on the game to see out the victory. The Black and Yellow maintained the majority of the possession in the second half and held MBFC to only one shot on target.
The Battery secured the 1-0 victory at home, bringing the packed Patriots Point crowd to celebration in a commanding response to the previous week’s loss against San Antonio. Charleston affirmed their spot atop of the Eastern Conference with a 6W-2L-3D record (21 pts).
Goalkeeper Trey Muse notched his fourth shutout of the season in a relatively easy day at the office, tallying one save. As of writing, Muse’s four clean sheets rank him tied for second-most in the league.
Head Coach Ben Pirmann and Fidel Barajas discussed the victory after the final whistle, with key quotes to follow.
Coach Pirmann on the response he saw from the team in today’s victory…
We wanted to make some stuff right, with our attitudes, our efforts, making sure that there was no doubt who the strongest warriors were, who was the team willing to fight for it. We were, and so was Monterey Bay, but that’s every single game in this league. We scored a great goal. As we got a little bit tired, we took our foot off the gas, so we have to make sure that we keep ramping that up.
We want to be a team [who’s] more mentally tough, keeps the ball in phases and then we can make the opponents suffer. It was a good response. Winning is so important. Winning at home is important. Getting a shutout is important. We checked a lot of those boxes. We are banged up a little bit, but it was a full team effort.
Coach Pirmann on the positive takeaways from the match…
It was two-fold; good energy, especially in the first half, we probably could have had another goal or two, and then in possession, especially in the attacking half, we were pretty thorough. I think that can be a game model, where we get the ball, reverse, and keep it in the attacking half, even if we’re just making our opponents suffer. It was tough. The boys worked, there was no doubt. We pushed on and really limited their chances. We just got to make sure we’re doing that week in and week out.
Coach Pirmann on rewarding the fans with a strong performance…
I told the boys in the locker room before the game, I said, ‘we were disappointing last week and our fans still turned up in numbers.’ They’re here for our players. They’re here for this club, this community. I think that goes a long way, so we wanted to reward them. We wanted to play for them and that’s what this is about. We just have to keep going, keep getting better and keep getting stronger.
Barajas on what was working well with the squad tonight…
[We were] just sticking together with a game plan, what [Coach Pirmann] had wanted us to do and accomplishing that. Keeping the ball, finding the right times to attack and score goals. Obviously, losing 0-7 [last week] was not a good look for us or the club, I think just coming back with a response throughout the whole week of training and not wanting to feel that again. We keep pushing and showing why we’re number one in the Eastern Conference.
Getting three points is what we want. I think just building on that, learning from our mistakes, watching film, and just this next week of training heading to RGV Toros. It’s something we need to keep working on. We just need to keep building from that and keep winning games.
Barajas on his connection with fellow Mexican teammate, Arturo Rodriguez….
With him being from Mexico and my family too, we just click like that. I think we get to show it on the field too, just hanging out, on and off the field, I think that builds a lot of chemistry. Today was a perfect example of us two and the connection we have.
Barajas on messages to the fans….
Thank them for showing up. Coming from a bad [result] from last week, I think it’s amazing having them come out and showing such big support in this game. We couldn’t have done it without them, so thank you.
Next week, the Battery head to Texas for a match on Sat., May 27, against Rio Grande Valley FC Toros. Charleston will return home on Fri., June 2, to take on Indy Eleven and celebrate Pride Night at Patriots Point. The match also kicks off the summer-long $3 beer promotion at home matches which continues through early August. Tickets are available now via SeatGeek.com, the Battery’s exclusive digital ticketing provider.
CHS – 8′ Arturo Rodriguez
CHS: Muse, Dodson, Wynne, Archer, Paterson, Crawford, Rodriguez (Schmidt 90’+2), Polvara (Booth 66’), Allan, Williams, Barajas (Cochran 79’)
MBFC: Doner, Yoseke (Dawkins 82’), Rebollar, Volesky, Martinez, Fehr, Dixon (Maldonado 24’) (Glasser 71’), Enriquez, Boone (Okoli 71’), Greene, Herrera