Birmingham Legion FC

Birmingham Falls 1-0 to Charleston Battery in the Last Game of the Regular Season

October 14, 2023 - United Soccer League Championship (USL)
Birmingham Legion FC News Release

Charleston, S.C. - Birmingham Legion FC lost 1-0 to the Charleston Battery in the last match of the 2023 USL Championship regular season. Falling behind in the 33rd minute at Patriots Point, the Battery held onto its one-goal lead until the end of the game.

In the first half of play, some decent chances were created for both sides. Neco Brett nearly caught Charleston's goalkeeper off-guard in the fourth minute with a long-range effort and the Black & Gold finished the half with eight shots. The game's sole goal, however, came in the 33rd minute, when the Battery's Nick Markanich got on the end of some pinball chaos in front of goal. Forcing VanOekel to make two saves, Markanich got on the right end of a deflection and put the ball in Legion's net.

"In the end, it was just a hard-fought match," said Head Coach Tommy Soehn on tonight's result. "There were two teams that just battled, so that's what today was about."

The second half saw Charleston slip into a deeper defensive position, making it more difficult for Legion to create chances in build-up. The stats reflect this - Charleston took four shots in the second half and Birmingham took five.

"Well I mean, one's the [field conditions], but two they're organized," Soehn said on what made Charleston challenging to break down. "I expected there to be battles. I mean they didn't break us down that much either. Whenever you play Charleston you know it's going to be a battle. And part of me is happy that we're moving on to Tampa because we can at least play on a field that I think benefits us and benefits some of our key guys. But I'm not disappointed with the guys' effort at all."

With tonight's result, keeping it in seventh place, Birmingham will travel to Tampa Bay for the first round of the USL Championship playoffs. Having beaten the Tampa Bay Rowdies twice this season, the Black & Gold have proved it has the capability of traveling to Tampa and coming out with a victory.

"It's going to be tight this year," said Soehn on what to expect heading into his fifth playoff run in a row with Birmingham. "I've said this before, there are no easy games and obviously when you get to the playoffs it gets even harder and your concentration levels need to improve. It comes down to making sure that when you get your looks you finish your chances. So you know our guys will be ready."

"It's going to be a hard game," said Soehn on facing Tampa. "Both teams are good. It's going to be who can finish their chances."

Box Score:

1st Half 2nd Half

CHS 1 0

BHM 0 0


CHS - 33′ - #13 Nick Markanich

Starting XI:

BHM - 4-1-4-1 - #1 Matt VanOekel; #13 Jake Rufe, #33 Moses Mensah, #21 Alex Crognale, #4 Collin Smith; #19 Enzo Martinez (c); #10 Prosper Kasim (74′ - #16 Gabriel Alves), #15 Tyler Pasher (74′ - #17 Matthew Corcoran), #9 Juan Agudelo (89′ - #23 Grayson Dupont), #28 Preston Tabort Etaka; #11 Neco Brett (58′ - #7 Diba Nwegbo)

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