Markanich brace, Williams goal lift Charleston past Loudoun in dominant 3-0 win
CHARLESTON, SC - The Charleston Battery dismantled Loudoun United FC, 3-0, in an assertive victory in front of a record-setting crowd at Patriots Point on Friday. Augi Williams scored early to set the tone and Nick Markanich bagged two goals in the second half for the Battery’s ninth win of the USL Championship season. The result puts an exclamation mark on the club’s commencement of the second half of the regular season.
Charleston applied pressure to Loudoun early and often, looking to grab the night’s first goal. After a handful of close chances, Augi Williams put the Battery ahead with his ninth goal of the season, across all competitions, after redirecting Beto Avila’s cross past former Charleston goalkeeper Hugo Fauroux. The assist was Avila’s second of the year.
The Battery maintained their pressure as they aimed to add to their early lead. The up-tempo offense led to the hosts drawing a red card against Loudoun’s Jace Clark, who made a last-man foul against Avila just before reaching the 18-yard box. The visitors carried on with 10 men for the remainder of the night.
Despite creating more chances through halftime, the Battery’s lead held at 1-0 into the interval.
Out of the break, Dante Polvara nearly doubled Charleston’s lead with a first-time strike following a corner kick but the shot rocked off the near post.
Charleston added to their tally when Nick Markanich scored his first goal of the night with a perfectly-placed header in the 61st minute, assisted by Arturo Rodriguez off a corner kick. Markanich went relatively unmarked and capitalized on the defensive breakdown. The Battery’s grip on the match continued to tighten following the 2-0 lead and with the one-man advantage.
Markanich earned his second goal of the night in the 71st minute, putting on a sensational display of skill inside the box to score the brace. Rodriguez played the ball to Markanich and Nick weaved through Loudoun in a tight space to tuck the ball inside the near post. The brace was Markanich’s second of the season and his ninth goal across all competitions this year.
Rodriguez’s two assists brought his season total to three, tied for second-most on the team.
Loudoun thought they pulled a goal back in the 78th minute, but the flag was raised for offside in the build-up.
The Battery’s hold on the match wouldn’t waver and the hosts secured the 3-0 victory after five minutes of stoppage time. The dominant victory closed out the month on a high note for Charleston.
Goalkeeper Trey Muse made two saves en route to his seventh clean sheet of 2023. As of writing, the seven shoutouts ties him for the league lead.
The victory was a perfect sendoff for midfielder Dante Polvara, who completed his loan with the Battery following the match and will return to Scottish Premiership side Aberdeen FC for their preseason.
Head Coach Ben Pirmann and forward Nick Markanich discussed the match after the final whistle, with key quotes to follow.
Coach Pirmann on his assessment of the night…
It was a good performance. We played well in the last three games and only got one win out of it. We wanted to continue to do what we were doing well, hunting the ball when we have possession, moving the ball selflessly and being quick in the attack. Learning from the Memphis game, we had a really dominant performance [against Memphis], carried that over this week against a good Loudoun team. We could have been a little bit more clinical and sharper in the final third, a little bit more calm and patient, but they worked their tails off.
It’s been a really grueling first half of the season. It’s been tough, so I’m proud of them. This is the best crowd of the season. It was incredible to do that on our home field. That was really awesome for our guys.
Coach Pirmann on how the home support influenced the game…
That was tremendous. That was the best crowd since I’ve been here. We play for our supporters, we play for this club, this community. So, for our guys to put it on the line and do everything that they could for them, that’s what this is about. We put some fireworks out on the pitch for [our supporters]. I was happy for them and most importantly, happy for our supporters.
Coach Pirmann on building upon this result to start the second half of the season…
It’s one step at a time. Last three matches, we played really well and we were 1W-2L. You reflect on it and you say, ‘why aren’t we getting the result,’ right now, we have to control what we can influence, which is our attitude and our effort. Move the ball selflessly, hunt the ball when we’re out of it and push from there.
Great support. I’m honored to be a part of this club. The support from these guys and this community was incredible. Thank you to them and thank you to our front office, they did an incredible job to set this up.
Markanich on what worked well with the team tonight…
The team came out really strong to start the half. We were on top of them and we controlled the game. Beto [Avila] drawing that red card helped a lot and it was a good team performance overall. The fans were great today. I’m happy we came out and gave them a win.
Markanich on keeping the momentum going….
We have a little break coming up and a week to rest our bodies. We are going to take care of ourselves so we’ll be ready to play our next game. I’m excited to play Indy Eleven because I’m from there and I have family coming in. I’m looking forward to it.
After a bye week this coming weekend, the Battery depart for a series of away matches in July, starting against Indy Eleven on Wed., July 12, and followed by a match against Miami FC on Sat., July 15. Charleston return to Patriots Point on Sat., July 22, to take on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC. This home game will include the summer-long $3 beer promotion. Tickets are available now via SeatGeek.com, the Battery’s exclusive digital ticketing provider.
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