Battery beat Tampa Bay 3-0 for 1st win of the season
CHARLESTON, S.C. (March 25, 2023) – The Charleston Battery defeated the Tampa Bay Rowdies 3-0 at Patriots Point in dominant fashion on Saturday. Fidel Barajas (4′), Augi Williams (11′ PK) and Nick Markanich (58′) scored as the Battery kept Tampa Bay without options all night long. The victory is the Battery’s first of the 2023 season and the first for Ben Pirmann as head coach of the club, all in front of the electrified home crowd.
The Battery started the match on the front foot and did not let off. Fidel Barajas scored on a sensational curler in the 4th minute to break open the game, assisted by Nick Markanich, that beat goalkeeper Phil Breno. Barajas’ goal was the first of his professional career.
Charleston continued to apply heavy pressure and Derek Dodson drew a penalty in the 10th minute after being taken down in the box by Forrest Lasso. Augi Williams converted from the spot a minute later to double the Battery’s lead. The goal was Williams’ first of the 2023 season and 17th with the club.
While the Battery dominated the scoring, Tampa Bay held a majority of the possession (56% to 44%) in the first half. Goalkeeper Trey Muse was only called upon once to make a save through the initial 45 minutes.
Play resumed in the second half with the Battery continuing to apply heavy pressure to Tampa Bay’s defense. Markanich and Barajas combined again in the 59th minute, with Markanich finding the back of the net this time. Barajas picked out Markanich from the right side and Nick’s shot ricocheted off a Tampa Bay defender and floated over Breno and into the net.
Both benches were reduced in personnel midway through the second half when a member of Tampa Bay’s staff was shown a straight red card in the 61st minute. Head Coach Ben Pirmann was issued a red card moments later.
Charleston saw out the rest of the match from there and Tampa Bay were held without a shot on target after the 60-minute mark. The victory was the Battery’s first of the season, elevating their undefeated record to 1W-0L-2D, and their second consecutive over the Rowdies since last year.
Ben Pirmann and midfielder Robbie Crawford, who captained the side, discussed the match after the final whistle, with key quotes to follow.
Coach Pirmann on what was different about tonight’s game…
I don’t know how much was different, we go principles first, philosophies first. We wanted to make sure we were the hardest working team. You can see the spirit in their eyes, the hunger, the fight. We had five new faces on the pitch tonight, three of them had played zero minutes, including the whole backline, so hats off to them.
Coach Pirmann on the unique challenges faced tonight…
Our staff and our coaches did an incredible job preparing the team, so that the players were focused and they were ready to go. They knew there was only one task at hand, which was fighting for all three points. Robbie, the captain of the team, playing left back, he’s never played there before a day in his life; he looked incredible. So from Trey Muse all the way up to Augustine Williams, everybody who played off the bench was ready to go, ready to fight, so I’m proud of this team. I’m proud of this club.
Coach Pirmann on one key factor that led to tonight’s result…
Every single day we talked about the only thing that was acceptable was three points and doing whatever it took, whether that’s from outworking our opponent, moving the ball, or being aggressive on the press. We started fast and scored a couple of goals early. That was great. And then we just kept pushing. Going back to our foundation, it’s all about being selfless and being courageous. There’s no room for fear.
Crawford on what the victory over rivals Tampa Bay means to the team…
It should give us a lot of confidence. The two ties, we thought we should have had more from those two games, but we stuck with it tonight. We kept our heads. Finishing was great, we defended well, it’s massive. As far as two games and two ties, you never know how this game could have gone. We know they’re a good team, so we’re happy with the win.
Crawford on what was working well for the squad tonight…
I think the chemistry was good. If it could be one thing, I think we stuck together. We knew it was going to be a challenge, so that galvanized the squad a little bit and made us stick together. We knew everyone had to focus and be at their best. I think that was probably the most important factor.
Crawford on leading the squad ad captain…
It was an honor. I had a feeling that it might fall to me, being the most experienced in the team here. I was happy to step up and lead the guys, but they made my job really easy for me. They stuck together, worked hard and stuck to the game plan, so it was great.
After a brief bye week, the Battery are home for their next match on Tues., April 4, against Savannah Clovers FC in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. That game will be followed by a regular season match on Sat., April 8, also at Patriots Point. Tickets are available for both matches now via SeatGeek.com, the Battery’s exclusive digital ticketing provider.
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