Valiant road effort falls short in Battery’s 3-2 loss at Memphis

The Charleston Battery suffered defeat on the road, 3-2, to Memphis 901 FC at AutoZone Park on...
The Charleston Battery suffered defeat on the road, 3-2, to Memphis 901 FC at AutoZone Park on Saturday.(Charleston Battery)
Published: Jun. 25, 2023 at 12:37 AM EDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (June 24, 2023) – The Charleston Battery suffered defeat on the road, 3-2, to Memphis 901 FC at AutoZone Park on Saturday. Beto Avila scored his first Battery goal and Fidel Barajas tallied his second of the season, but three goals from the hosts proved to be the difference. The Black and Yellow will look ahead to Friday’s contest against Loudoun United FC to bounce back.

Charleston started the match applying early pressure, Fidel Barajas registered the night’s first shot 16 seconds into the game which went just wide of the far post. The match incurred a brief delay in the 8th minute when Memphis goalkeeper Drew Romig took a knee to the head from a teammate, requiring attention from the trainers but Romig stayed in.

The hosts struck first in the 18th minute via Laurent Kissiedou. Despite going down a goal, Charleston remained relentless in putting 901 FC under pressure.

Beto Avila leveled the score at 1-1 in the 26th minute after scoring his first Battery goal. Dante Polvara initiated the play from midfield with a smart tackle and played the ball to Chris Allan, who found Barajas. From there, Barajas unleashed a shot that Romig could only deflect back into the box and Avila was right there to redirect the ball into the net with a header.

Charleston took a 1-2 lead in the 34th minute when Barajas scored with a clinical strike, beating two Memphis defenders and Romig. Polvara again had a hand in the goal, this time credited with an assist, when he picked out Barajas with a ball over the top from about midfield. Barajas made a few moves before perfectly slotting his second goal of the season.

The intensity of the first 45 minutes carried into the second half as both clubs vied for a winner. Memphis twice put the ball in the back of the net before the 60th minute, but both were chalked off for offside in the build-up.

The intensity of the first 45 minutes carried into the second half as both clubs vied for a winner. Memphis twice put the ball in the back of the net before the 60th minute, but both were chalked off for offside in the build-up.

Tempers flared in the 61st minute between the Memphis bench and the match referees, leading to 901 FC boss Stephen Glass receiving a straight red card and an early dismissal.

Memphis managed to add a third goal in the 74th minute when Rodrigo Da Costa scored following a counterattack.

A warm welcome back to action came in the 77th minute when Emilio Ycaza entered the game in place of Dante Polvara. The swap marked Ycaza’s first appearance in a match since March 18.

Charleston continued to create chances in dangerous spots as the match reached the business end of the night. Nick Markanich narrowly missed wide with a strong shot from inside the box in the 82nd minute and Arturo Rodriguez has a decent hit deflected away from the goal moments later.

The Battery were unable to find an equalizer despite the valiant effort through stoppage time to put one more past Romig, falling 3-2 to Memphis. Charleston’s record now stands at 8W-5L-4D (28 pts), placing them second in the Eastern Conference.

Head Ben Pirmann and midfielder Dante Polvara discussed the match after the final whistle, with key quotes to follow.

Coach Pirmann on his takeaways from the performance…

We played a great game, we were clearly the better team. We made two massive and unforgivable errors that any team was going to use to punish us. It’s shocking to play so well and to have shown so much dominance in the game and then to not get a tie, but to lose. But, that’s football and that’s also what happens when you play against good teams.

At the end of the day, we can be proud of our performance. The Black and Yellow fans, our supporters, they should be very proud of that. Not many teams have been able to do that and exert themselves like that [against Memphis]. They didn’t beat us; we lost the game. I don’t mean that to be disrespectful to Memphis, I mean that just to reflect internally and that we can’t make those mistakes.

Coach Pirmann on bouncing back at home on Friday…

About what we can build on for Loudoun, we just can’t make those errors, way too many errors in the center of defense. From the standpoint of applying a game plan, we completely outplayed a really good team, moving the ball well. The press was excellent. The possession was excellent, the shots, the chances, the corners. We need to be more selfless in the final third, we were rushed and we knew going into the game that we were going to have more time to be calmer.

Coach Pirmann on the team reaching the midway point of the 2023 season…

We’re in a rebuild and halfway through the season. We’ve got eight wins, we’ve scored a lot of goals and we’ve played really good football. We’re miles ahead of where I anticipated we’d be, so full credit to the staff and to the players. They all work so hard.

I think nights like tonight put a taste in our mouths where we want to not just have good performances, but seek out results. We have to keep focusing and just need to really reflect, eliminate some errors, get a little bit sharper, a little bit better attention to detail in all the phases of the game. If we have performances like that the rest of the season then we will be in a really good spot.

Polvara on his assessment of the night…

We executed our game plan and the boys had the right mentality going into it. Everyone brought their A-game, but unfortunately, we shot ourselves in the foot a few times. [Memphis] are a good team, they’re gonna punish us. They had fewer chances, but they’re clinical. That’s football and that’s how it works, sometimes it’s unlucky. I’m sure everyone’s happy with the performance, but at the end of the day, what matters is winning and we came short.

Polvara on fixing the mistakes ahead of the next match…

We all make mistakes throughout the 90 minutes, but unfortunately, if you play on defense, your mistakes are put on display. It is a bit of mentality and attention to detail in closing out the half. We’re starting strong and keeping the momentum. It was a tough battle, with a lot of intensity, but sometimes tired minds will affect the tired legs and one thing leads to another. It is something that has hurt us in the past and something that we’ll keep working on.

It’s really unfortunate because [this match was] arguably one of our best performances of the year against among the best teams in the league. I thought we really dominated them. The main message going into Friday will be no mistakes, no nonsense.

Polvara on what was working well for him and the team tonight in both goals…

The partnership between Chris [Allan] and I has only gotten stronger throughout the games. I thought the front four were brilliant with their pressing, which is where we got the first goal. That first goal was down to the hard work of the front for pressing, doing exactly what we wanted to do. The second goal was really Beto checking in and leaving space behind the high line and Fidel being smart against the offside trap, I played a decent ball in and Fidel did the rest, tucking it away nicely.

I felt we had a ton of other opportunities that could have been goals as well, but we just didn’t tuck them away. At the end of the day, we more than doubled our shots. It’s really just an unfortunate one.

Charleston return to Patriots Point for their next match, on Fri., June 30, against Loudoun United FC. This home game also includes a Fourth of July fireworks celebration and the summer night $3 beer promotion. Tickets are available now via, the Battery’s exclusive digital ticketing provider.

Scoring Summary

MEM - Kissiedou 18′

CHS - Avila 26′

CHS - Barajas 34′

MEM - Dally 45+5

MEM - Da Costa 74′


CHS - Muse, Dodson, Paterson ©, Wynne, Crawford (Palma 58′), Polvara (Ycaza 77′), Allan, Barajas (Williams 58′), Rodriguez, Avila (Trager 68′), Markanich

MEM - Romig, Ward, Smith, Peters, Buckmaster, Molloy, Hyndman, Kelly, Dally, Kissiedou, Da Costa