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 Charleston Battery

Battery Secure 1-0 Victory Over Birmingham, Ycaza Scores Winner

May 16, 2024 - United Soccer League Championship (USL)
Charleston Battery News Release


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The Charleston Battery triumphed 1-0 over Birmingham Legion FC on Wednesday at Protective Stadium. The hard-fought match was decided by Emilio Ycaza's match-winning goal in the 61st minute. Goalkeeper Adam Grinwis tallied five saves en route to the Battery's sixth shutout of the year in an all-around courageous effort from the shot-stopper. In league play, Charleston are now 11 games unbeaten and have won six consecutive matches.

The victory affirms Charleston's spot atop the USL Championship and Eastern Conference standings.

It was an unvaried start to the night as neither side wanted to give way to the opposition. The first big chance of the game came in the 10th minute when Birmingham's Dawson McCartney rocked a short-range shot off the post.

Nick Markanich recorded a shot on target minutes later but then neither side would record a shot again until the 40th minute.

Both teams had an opportunity to grab the lead before the break but the chances ended in shots over the crossbar. Stefano Pinho sailed one over the bar in the 40th minute from inside the box and Emilio Ycaza's shot from inside the box in the 45th minute was too tall for the frame.

The match went into the break tied at 0-0. Charleston held roughly 66% of possession.

Legion FC came out of the interval inspired to break the deadlock. Enzo Martinez tested goalkeeper Adam Grinwis in the 47th minute with a shot from around the penalty spot, but Grinwis was there to make the save. Despite the hosts' energy out of the break, the Battery began to apply more pressure as the half wore one.

Charleston broke open the game in the 61st minute after Ycaza capped off a sublime piece of skill by Mark Segbers to set up the goal. Segbers sliced his way through the Legion FC defense and played the ball to Ycaza, who broke free thanks to a dummy move by MD Myers to draw Birmingham's attention toward him and away from Ycaza. From there, Ycaza finished off the chance with precision, giving the Battery a 0-1 lead.

The goal and assist were the second of the year for Ycaza and Segbers, respectively.

Birmingham began to press harder for an equalizer as the game neared a close. Grinwis, however, was up to the task and would make all five of his saves in the match during the second half.

Grinwis showed incredible courage in the final minutes of stoppage time by putting his body on the line to deny Legion FC a late goal. The shot-stopper dove to punch the ball away in the 96th minute but it led to a collision which ultimately forced him out of the match, bringing on Daniel Kuzemka to see out the final kicks of the game. Grinwis' effort was not in vain as the Battery sealed the 0-1 victory shortly after his departure.

The victory brings Charleston's record to 8W-0L-3D (27pts) atop the USL Championship and Eastern Conference standings. It's the Battery's sixth consecutive win in league play and 11th consecutive undefeated match.

Charleston's six shutouts on the year currently lead the league.

Head Coach Ben Pirmann and defender Mark Segbers discussed the victory with media after the final whistle, with key quotes to follow.

Coach Pirmann on his immediate takeaways from the match...

It was a tough game. It wasn't necessarily the prettiest for either group, but Tommy Soehn is a good coach. This is a big club, they go to the playoffs every year. They have two of the best players in the entire league and they showed it tonight.

I thought we made enough plays to tilt the game into our favor and in the last 15 minutes, we had to hang on. I told the team in the first two or three weeks of the season that we would probably tie that game, but we saw it out. It wasn't our best performance, tough travel, tough opponent, but we focused on what we could control and found a way to get all three points.

Coach Pirmann on his message to the team during halftime...

It was twofold. We talked about having possession with a purpose. If it's to go around them, to make a move and make Pasher and Pinho chase us, then that's fine. They man-mark tight in those central passes. They really clogged it up and we had too many silly giveaways. We were ready for them on the counter and I think it took us 43 minutes to have a good transition attack.

I told Nate Dossantos and Mark Segbers at halftime to do a better job of dribbling forward and that's how we created the goal. I thought Juan Torres had an excellent game, he was very responsible on the ball. We had to go above and beyond to get the goal and then hang on to all three points.

Segbers on executing a plan made during halftime that assisted in the goal at the 61st minute...

A couple of times this year, our coach has given us an insight and it has ended up playing out exactly how he says. I think it's just a testament to him and us trusting the process and going out and trying to execute. It's always good to score a goal, but it definitely feels better when you know that the space is there that you were already told about.

Segbers on overcoming Birmingham's transitional defense...

I think with Pinho coming over onto the wing, I made sure that I was a little more smart with my movements. I didn't just fly up to fly up, I had to make sure that if I slide up, Nate is sliding over and our back line still has that cover because Pinho is very athletic and very good in transition. I also had to pick my moments and I thought we did a good job on him tonight.

Segbers on mindset after winning six matches in a row...

What makes it special is we're a very, very mentally sound group. We don't let our highs get too high and our lows get too low. We just get on to the next game and get on to the next challenge. We were happy to get three points, but all of our focus is on our next game already.

The Battery are back home on Tue., May 21, against MLS side Atlanta United FC in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Round of 16. Charleston will again play at home the following Friday for a May 24 match against El Paso Locomotive FC. Tickets for both games are on sale now via SeatGeek.com, the club's exclusive digital ticketing provider.

Lineups:

BHM: Van Oekel, Kavita, Hernandez, McCartney, Rufe (Perez, 64'), Pasher (Kasim, 72'), Martinez, Paterson (Nyarko, 64'), Crognale, Murana, Pinho (Etaka, 72')

CHS: Grinwis (Kuzemka, 90' +10), Archer, Segbers, Allan (Crawford, 90' +6), Molloy, Ycaza (Rodríguez, 79'), Myers (LaCava, 79'), Markanich (Drack, 87'), Smith, Dossantos, Torres (Conway, 87')

Scoring Summary:

CHS - Emilio Ycaza (Mark Segbers), 61'


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