Battery tame Toros in 0-2 victory, Williams and Muse shine
CHARLESTON, S.C. (May 27, 2023) – The Charleston Battery defeated Rio Grande Valley FC Toros, 0-2, on Saturday at H-E-B Park, affirming the club’s spot in first place of the Eastern Conference standings. Augi Williams scored on both sides of halftime and Trey Muse notched a single-game league-high 10 saves during the victory. The win was Charleston’s seventh victory of the season, surpassing the total wins mark in 2022 (six).
Action began with RGV looking to assert themselves early as the Battery absorbed their pressure and kept the hosts at bay. Goalkeeper Trey Muse was tested several times and made four saves in the first 16 minutes.
The game was temporarily suspended in the 21st minute due to lightning in the area.
Play resumed after roughly an hour-long delay. Charleston broke open the game in the 30th minute when Augi Williams found the back of the net, assisted by Robbie Crawford. Fidel Barajas initiated the play with a strong cross from the left flank that connected with Crawford inside the box. Crawford then played it off to Williams for the opening tally. The goal was Williams’ seventh across all competitions this year.
The Battery continued to apply heavy pressure to RGV’s defense via Barajas and Williams but had to settle for just a 0-1 lead at halftime. Muse was strong on the opposite end, making six saves in the first half.
Play resumed in the second half with much of the same pace from both sides; Charleston looked to double their lead and RGV aimed for an equalizer. Muse stayed steady between the sticks and made a pair of saves through the hour mark.
Charleston would receive a boost from their newest arrival, Beto Avila, who made an immediate impact by winning a penalty minutes after entering the match. The debutant won the penalty by drawing a foul against Frank Nodarse in the box. Williams would step up for the spot attempt and sent a bullet past goalkeeper Carlos Merancio. The conversion marked Williams’ second brace of the season.
With a 0-2 lead, the Battery continued to apply pressure and limit legitimate chances for RGV as the half wore on, despite conceding over 60% possession to the hosts in the second half.
Muse remained strong for the Battery and would register 10 saves on the night, a single-game high in the USL Championship this year and the first player to crack double-digit saves this season.
Charleston stayed relentless to secure their seventh league victory of the season in the 0-2 result at H-E-B Park. The win, in the Battery’s 12th league contest of 2023, surpasses their mark for victories in all of 2022 (six).
Trey Muse notched his fifth clean sheet of the season, which ranks him tied for second-most in the league this season. Augi Williams’ brace propelled him to tied for third-most goals so far in the league this year.
The victory put Charleston four points clear of the Tampa Bay Rowdies for first place in the Eastern Conference standings.
Head Coach Ben Pirmann and Augi Williams discussed the victory after the final whistle, with key quotes to follow.
Coach Pirmann on what went well during the night…
In the second half, we’re a little bit more disciplined in both phases, in and out of possession, and we did well. Beto [Avila], I’m really proud of him to grab the aggression to draw the foul and get the penalty. Outside the first 20 minutes, it was a good performance.
Coach Pirmann on coming out of the lightning delay strong…
We went over the scouting report, we knew exactly how [Rio Grande Valley] would press us, how we wanted to build around them. The biggest thing was that we needed to be more responsible [on the ball]. Whether it was building our structure, making the pass and holding it up, we just weren’t responsible. We kept giving it away and then they got on top of us. You give a good team like that territory, they’re gonna get shots and chances.
We were very poor in the first 20 minutes. We knew that they were hot last week against Tampa Bay. We prepared for everything and we just didn’t turn up. Maybe the lightning delay helped us. Then, after that, we started to hold more possession and we were able to really get him behind them in the wide channels with our full-backs and wingers. That’s how we scored the first goal, which was a great finish, and we got more and more chances.
Coach Pirmann on the second consecutive shutout…
We wanted to eliminate [Rio Grande Valley] attacking the central areas, because they do a really good job of putting their wingers in half spaces and getting turned, but you can’t always stop that. The majority of the shots that we conceded were from distance, that tends to be an advantage to the goalkeeper, but he also had to make some really good saves. Trey [Muse] did a really good job. He was the sole reason that we stayed in it in the first 20 minutes. Back-to-back shutouts are always good.
We want to be a team that’s difficult to play against, difficult to break down. We want to keep building on that. A lot of improvements have to be made, we just have to keep pushing on.
Williams on his main takeaways from the victory...
In the beginning, we struggled getting into the game. [The delay was] the moment we needed to talk and fix things. After we came in from the lightning delay, we were able to go out and put on a good performance. We needed to get in control of the game. We felt like we were chasing the game and we were looking to be able to settle.
Williams on what was working well with the offense….
We knew that it was going to be tough to get that first goal, because [Rio Grande Valley] were looking to score. They’re home, they feel that energy. We were looking for the second goal, so we could settle more. As soon as we scored that second goal, we started playing to close the game out. It’s just about being versatile and working for one another, it’s something we practice in training and that we continue to build on.
Williams on building on this result in the upcoming games….
We’ll have a day off, but we are going back to the training pitch to work on things that we could have done better tonight. Building on what we’ve been doing so far to be successful this season, it’s always a learning process. Now that we’re on top, we have a target on our back but we’re working to get better every day. We need to keep building and keep learning, one game at a time, to be successful.
The Battery will return home for the first of two matches on Fri., June 2, to take on Indy Eleven and host Pride Night at Patriots Point. The match also kicks off the summer-long $3 beer promotion at home matches, which continues through early August. This will be followed by a midweek match on Wed., June 7, against Detroit City FC. Tickets are available now via SeatGeek.com, the Battery’s exclusive digital ticketing provider.
CHS - 30′ Augi Williams (Robbie Crawford)
CHS - 65′ Augi Williams
CHS: Muse, Paterson (Palma 77′), Crawford, Archer, Dodson, Wynne, Polvara (Cochran 77′), Allan, Rodriguez, Williams (Schmidt 83′), Barajas (Avila 62′)
RGV: Merancio, Ackwei, Cabezas, Benitez (Nodarse 52′), Coronado (Lopez 66′), Ritondale, Davila (Kinzner 75′), Ruiz, Herrera, Cabrera, Francois (Torres 66′)
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