Charlotte, NC - After a flat tire on the bus forced the team to take Ubers to the Sportsplex at Matthews, the Charleston Battery defeated the Charlotte Independence, 1-0, Saturday night to clinch second place in the USL Eastern Conference. The Battery will open the playoffs at MUSC Health Stadium next Saturday, October 21st.
Knowing they needed a win to finish in the top four, the Independence pressed the Battery early on looking for an opening goal. Despite being under immense pressure for the majority of the first half, it was Charleston who found the back of the net.
The Battery worked their way into Charlotte's defensive third through a combination of Ataulla Guerra and Maikel Chang in one of their few spells of possession in the 45 minutes. Chang eventually found Kotaro Higashi who threaded Guerra through on goal. The Trinidadian midfielder did extremely well to take Higashi's pass in stride and chip the ball over an onrushing Cody Mizell to put the Battery ahead.
Guerra's sixth goal of the season was enough to secure three points for Charleston and leave them in sole possession of second place in the Eastern Conference. Odisnel Cooper played one of his best games of the season in goal for the Battery to preserve the clean sheet. Battery captain Taylor Mueller also stood out defensively against the Independence as he and Justin Portillo closed out the USL regular season having played every minute.
Charleston's opponent for the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals will be determined Sunday afternoon when the Bethlehem Steel take on Saint Louis FC at Goodman Stadium. If the table stays as it is, the Battery will play defending USL Champions New York Red Bulls II in the opening round. Tickets for the quarterfinal match can be purchased now at charlestonbattery.com.