CHARLESTON, S.C. – Goals in either half by Arturo Rodriguez and Augustine Williams led the Charleston Battery to a 2-1 victory against Louisville City FC and the Eastern Conference title in the 2023 USL Championship Playoffs on Saturday night before a sellout crowd at Patriot Point.
The Battery got out to an ideal start as Rodriguez opened the scoring in just the fifth minute. Awarded a free kick left of center outside the penalty area, Rodriguez picked out the top-left corner with a perfectly placed finish for his second goal of the postseason.
Williams went close to doubling Charleston’s lead in the 14th minute with a looping header that went just over the crossbar after LouCity didn’t clear a free kick cleanly. Seven minutes later, Derek Dodson went closer for the hosts as his header off Rodriguez’s cross rattled the crossbar, but Louisville quickly countered and almost leveled the game as Brian Ownby flashed a shot just wide of the left post from the right side of the penalty area.
LouCity came out on the front foot to start the second half, but the Battery doubled their lead shortly before the hour-mark as Nick Markanich was brought down just inside the left edge of the penalty area, giving the hosts a chance from the spot. Williams stepped up and went right with his shot as Louisville goalkeeper Oliver Semmle went the opposite way for the Sierra Leone international's 15th goal of the season.
From there, the Battery’s defense came to the fore, limiting LouCity’s chances to find a way back into the game. The visitors were reduced to 10 players when Carlos Moguel Jr. was sent off for his second yellow card with four minutes to play, but Louisville grabbed a lifeline in the 90th minute when Kyle Adams nodded home from close range after Sean Totsch’s initial header from a corner kick had hit the left post.
The Battery held out for the remaining minutes, however, to secure their first trip to the USL Championship Final since the 2012 season.
USLChampionship.com Player of the Game
Arturo Rodriguez, Charleston Battery – The Mexican playmaker set the tone for the night with his brilliant free kick and was influential otherwise, recording two shots and two chances created while winning 3 of 4 tackles and 7 of 13 duels.
CHS – Arturo Rodriguez 5’
CHS – Augustine Williams (penalty kick) 58’
LOU - Kyle Adams 90'