February 20, 2013 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Chicago Fire
CHARLESTON, S.C. (Feb. 20, 2013) - The Chicago Fire defeated the Charleston Battery 2-1 Wednesday evening at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, S.C. After falling behind in the 11th minute, goals from Austin Berry and Alex lifted the Men in Red to record its second straight Carolina Challenge Cup victory.
The hosts opened scoring in the 11th minute when Nicki Patterson split the Fire defense and played a square ball through to Jose Cuevas who slotted the ball under a sliding Paolo Tornaghi to give the Battery the 1-0 lead.
The Fire would pull level in the 28th minute. Chris Rolfe collected the ball on the right flank and turned towards goal, nutmegged the Battery defender and was dragged down 35 yards from goal. Joel Lindpere whipped in the ensuing free kick into the penalty area and found Austin Berry at the spot. The reigning MLS Rookie of the Year rose above his defender to head the ball down and shielded the ball as it rolled over the line for the equalizer.
The Fire continued to press and came close to taking the lead in the 38th minute. Newly minted midfielder Dilly Duka collected the ball on the left sideline, fought off his defender and unleashed a shot from the top of the 18-yard box that ricocheted off the right post.
Head Coach Frank Klopas made nine substitutions at the half as he continues to evaluate players for his final roster decisions.
As the game wound down and looked to end in a draw, Maicon Santos received the ball and played a square ball to his countryman. Alex took a touch and unleashed a right-footed blast from 30 yards out that bended past the Charleston 'keeper for the late 90th minute game-winner.
With two wins to their credit, the Fire sit atop the standings of the Carolina Challenge Cup. The Houston Dynamo and Vancouver Whitecaps FC are tied with three points and the Charleston Battery have zero.
The Fire close out Carolina Challenge Cup play when they face Vancouver Whitecaps FC at 4:00 p.m. CT at Blackbaud Stadium on Saturday, Feb. 23. Watch the match live on USLNation.com.
Chicago Fire Season Tickets and #cf97withdrawals Winter Packs, which give fans the opportunity to witness the Men in Red in action on Opening Night against the New England Revolution on Saturday, March 9 at 6:30 p.m. CT (NBC Sports Network), while donning the four Fire hats and four pairs of Fire gloves, are available by calling 1-888-MLS-FIRE, via Ticketmaster or by heading to the club's official website at www.Chicago-Fire.com.