February 16, 2013 - United Soccer League (USL) - Charleston Battery
Charleston, SC. On an unusually cold evening in Charleston, MLS team's the Chicago Fire played the Houston Dynamo in an Eastern Conference preseason matchup at the 10th annual Carolina Challenge Cup. The opening game of the tournament was action packed as the Fire came up with the win, defeating the Dynamo 3-2.
The Dynamo started strong with a goal early on in the 14th minute by Adam Moffot. Moffot scored on a set piece from just outside the box with a powerful shot that snuck by Chicago's keeper, Sean Johnson. The Fire responded in the 24th minute with a great breakaway move and an excellent finish around the keeper by Sherjill MacDonald. The Fire struck again in the 26th minute on choppy goal by midfielder Dilly Duka. Chicago scored yet again in the second half to make it 3-1 with a goal by Jeff Larentowicz. Houston brought themselves within reach after a great finish by Cam Weaver in the 64th minute, but didn't have quite enough to tie the game up.
The Chicago Fire narrowly escaped with a win in the opening game of the Carolina Challenge Cup. The Houston Dynamo will take on the Vancouver Whitecaps on Wednesday, February 20 at 5 PM. The Chicago Fire will follow up with a match against the Charleston Battery at 7:15 PM.
Charleston Battery vs. Vancouver Whitecaps
Charleston, SC. The Charleston Battery made a valiant effort to overcome a three-goal deficit in the second half, but it just wasn't enough. Vancouver moved the ball with speed in the first half as Kekuta Manneh records two goals at the 4' and 27'. Manneh used his quickness to beat the Battery defense twice down the left side of the pitch and added an excellent touch to find the back of the net.
The Battery missed a huge opportunity at 43' coming off a nice pass from Zach Prince through the middle to Jose Cuevas, Cuevas' shot missed wide to the right of the net. The Whitecaps pushed the issue further with a goal in the 50th minute of play as Daigo Kobayashi connected with a terrific volley to make it 3-0 in favor of Vancouver.
Down 3-0 in the second half, the Battery had a tall task ahead of them; but with their backs against the wall, the Battery came out and played a nice second half of soccer. Goal scorer, Nicki Paterson, scored his first goal of the 2013 season and put the Battery on the scoreboard in the 71st minute with a one-time shot over Vancouver's keeper to pull the Battery within two.
In the 77th minute the Battery had another great opportunity off a set piece but the Whitecaps goalie, Brad Knighton, made a huge save to hold onto the 3-1 lead. Dane Kelly continued the charge with a fantastic goal at 80'. Kelly connected with a beautiful shot from the left side of the box as he finessed it over the Whitecaps keeper to make it 3-2.
The combination of slow play early on from the Battery and authoritative ball movement by Vancouver would be the decider in this match as the Whitecaps sprinted to an early lead. The Battery simply didn't get it going until it was too late and will start the 2013 Carolina Challenge Cup tournament with a loss.