The Charleston Battery are seeking their first trip to the USL Championship Final since 2012 when they host four-time Eastern Conference title winner Louisville City FC on Saturday night. | Photo courtesy Michael Wiser / Charleston Battery
CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Charleston Battery will try to claim their first Eastern Conference title in the USL Championship as they play host to Louisville City FC, which will be shooting for a fifth conference crown on Saturday night in the Eastern Conference Final of the 2023 USL Championship Playoffs. Kickoff at Patriots Point is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET Here’s what you need to know.
How They Got Here
Charleston Battery (17-9-8, 59pts) – The Battery returned to the final four of the Championship Playoffs for the first time since 2013 with a 2-1 victory against Birmingham Legion FC last Saturday night that saw Emilio Ycaza score his second goal of the postseason before Derek Dodson’s redirection of Nick Markanich’s shot served as the winner. The Battery are aiming to return to the Championship Final for the first time since their last league title in 2012, with the side having recorded the most shots (34) and shots on target (14) of any team so far this postseason. Charleston will be without assists leader Fidel Barajas following his departure for the FIFA Men’s U-17 World Cup with Mexico, with Tristan Trager likely to deputize after coming on as a halftime substitute last time out.
Louisville City FC (14-12-8, 50pts) – Louisville City FC put together its biggest attacking output of the season to take a 4-0 victory against Detroit City FC last Saturday night as Cameron Lancaster scored twice while Brian Ownby had a goal and assist to lead the side back to the Eastern Conference Final. LouCity has reached this stage of the postseason in every season of its history and has previously won the Eastern Conference title four times (2017, 2018, 2019, 2022). One of those victories came on the road against Indy Eleven in 2019, and this season the side has earned either a win or a draw in 12 of its 18 league contests on the road including the postseason. With the chance to become the first three-time winner of the Championship title, Louisville will be hoping to come through once again.
Louisville City FC has taken an 8-2-7 record all-time in meetings against the Battery, including victories in both prior postseason contests between the clubs in 2015 and 2016. This season, however, the teams ended all square in both meetings including a 1-1 draw on August 9 in their most recent outing that saw Ycaza level with 10 minutes to go.
18 – The Charleston Battery have scored 18 goals from set pieces across the regular season and playoffs, tied for second in the league, with 11 goals of those goals coming off corner kicks.
9 – After their performances against Detroit City FC, Cameron Lancaster and Brian Ownby are tied for the USL Championship Playoffs all-time goalscoring lead with nine goals apiece.
Players to Watch
Charleston Battery – Arturo Rodriguez: The attacking playmaker has been sharp in possession over the first two postseason games, completing 42 of 46 passes, and his creativity in the final third and set piece deliveries could be a major factor in the outcome.
Louisville City FC – Brian Ownby: The veteran winger put in a vintage display against Detroit City FC and will want to produce something similar this time out with his likely matchup against Derek Dodson one of the biggest to watch on the field.
Charleston Battery – No suspensions
Louisville City FC – No suspensions