Photo courtesy Zach Bland / Charleston Battery
There are few things close to certain in the USL but one of those is the Charleston Battery making the USL Cup Playoffs, which they have done every single season in the league's modern era. 2017 was no different as the Battery made their seventh straight appearance in the USL Cup Playoffs, finishing a modern-era best second in the Eastern Conference.
Despite that strong record the Battery will be disappointed with their finish this year. Going into the postseason having never suffered defeat in the playoffs at MUSC Health Stadium in the league's modern era, the Battery fell to a 4-0 defeat to the New York Red Bulls II in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
Record: 15-8-9, 54pts
Place: Second in the Eastern Conference
Goals For: 53
Goals Against: 33
USL Cup Playoffs: Eastern Conference Quarterfinals (L 4-0 vs. New York Red Bulls II)
2017 leaders: Romario Williams (15 goals), Maikel Chang (10 assists), Odisnel Cooper (72 saves)
The Battery had a significant uptick in scoring in 2017, scoring 20 more goals than in 2016. Led by Jamaican international Romario Williams, who managed 15 goals on loan from Atlanta United, the side also got strong production from Heviel Cordoves with nine and Ataulla Guerra, Forrest Lasso, and Justin Portillo managing six each. That goal-scoring power led the Battery up to second place in the USL Eastern Conference, a best-ever regular season finish.
Apart from the obvious, the disappointing 4-0 upset to New York Red Bulls II in the USL Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, a poor run in the middle of the season denied the Battery an opportunity to claim the USL Eastern Conference regular season crown. From July 8th until September 2nd the Battery went winless, managing just two draws in the span, to fall well off the pace behind eventual first-place finisher Louisville City FC.
Down a man and a goal on the road against Ottawa Fury FC at TD Place, Cuban international Heviel Cordoves used superb control to gather the ball, flick it over an opponent and then smash it home into the top corner to give the Battery a 1-1 draw late in the season.
Originally moving the wrong way, Battery goalkeeper Alex Tambakis quickly shifted his body, making a spectacular save as he twisted well to deny the Tampa Bay Rowdies’ Joe Cole at Al Lang Stadium.