Battery fall 2-1 to RSL in CCC.
The win over the Battery puts RSL at the top of the CCC table (six points, plus-four goal differential) followed by Toronto (six points, plus-two), Charleston (zero points, minus-two), and D.C. United (zero points, minus-four). Saturday’s fixtures will see RSL and TFC battling for the tournament title while Charleston and D.C. meet for third.
Ian Fuller had the Battery’s loan goal in the game, a spectacular 30-yard free kick that drew the game level in the 49th minute.
RSL trialist Joe Zewe nearly put the visitors in the lead six minutes into the match, collecting a ball inside the penalty area and firing his shot off the far post and back into play.
The Battery regulars came right back at what was mostly a RSL reserve side, creating several chances but failing to capitalize.
“We got a couple breaks early but we just couldn’t make them pay for it,” Battery coach Mike Anhaeuser said.
Clint Mathis opened scoring on the night in the 22nd minute sneaking a 22-yard free kick through the Battery wall inside Keith Wiggans’ near post.
“I’m disappointed we gave up a goal like that,” Anhaeuser said. “But we really haven’t had the chance to work much on set plays yet, so I’m not that concerned about it. All of that will be sorted out before the season starts.
It looked like the Battery had pulled level at the half-hour mark when Matt Bobo headed a Tyler Hemming corner kick into a crowded goalmouth. Reynier Alcantara appeared to have poked the ball over the line, only to be called offside and the goal disallowed.
Fuller left little to question as to the validity of his goal with six minutes remaining the half, hammering a vicious free-kick over the RSL wall to the near post past a diving Chris Seitz.
With 30 minutes remaining both coaches began substitution liberally. RSL coach Jason Kreis utilized several regular first team players as substitutes including Kyle Beckerman, whose dipping volley from 35-yards caught Wiggans off his line to put RSL in the lead in the 77th minute.
The Battery concludes the Carolina Challenge Cup Saturday in a U.S. Open Cup rematch with D.C. United. Kickoff is at 7:15 p.m.
RSL wraps up CCC play Saturday at 5 p.m. facing Toronto FC. The winner of the match will be crowned winner of the 2009 Carolina Challenge Cup.
Toronto FC 2
D.C. United 1
Both teams fielded a majority of first team players in the first half. Toronto did not have the services of Welsh international Carl Robinson, who played 90 minutes on Saturday and was rested by coach John Carver.
D.C. United was missing goalkeeper Louis Crayton, and midfielders Santino Quaranta and Fred, all of whom sustained injuries in Saturdays 3-0 loss to Real Salt Lake.
Chad Barrett put TFC in the lead in the 21st minute nodding in a Dwayne De Rosario cross, beating his marker to the ball. Newly acquired Pablo Vitti set up the goal, winning the ball at the top of the penalty area and feeding a streaking De Rosario who found a lightly marked Barrett six-yards from goal.
De Rosario doubled the score 12 minutes later converting a penalty kick after Dejan Jakovic’s clumsy tackle on Amado Guevara. De Rosario slotted the penalty to his left, sending Milos Kocic the other way.
Toronto kept the pressure through the end of the first half, and was unlucky to not enter the dressing room up by four goals after last Saturday’s hero Rohan Ricketts and Barrett both just missed chances.
While Carver stuck with his first team, D.C. United coach Tom Soehn made wholesale changes to his second half lineup and shifting the original 4-4-2 formation to a 3-5-2.
The move played immediate dividends, creating the necessary midfield pressure D.C. United lacked in the first half.
Just three minutes into the second stanza Chris Pontius pulled United a goal back, first-timing the cross of former Battery winger Boyzzz Kyumalo from short range.
Though United did control the run of play, it wasn’t until the 90th minute that United seriously threatened to pull the game level when Francis Doe beat his defender off the dribble and blasted a 20-yard shot that beat Sutton but slammed off the crossbar.
The Carolina Challenge Cup concludes Saturday. Real Salt Lake and Toronto FC square off for the CCC title at 5 p.m. followed by Charleston and D.C. United.
Carolina Challenge Cup Tickets
Tickets for Saturday’s doubleheader are $25 Club/Box and $15 Bleacher. Call 843-971-GOAl or go to www.charlestonbattery.com for more information.
All Charleston Battery season ticket holders receive a 50 percent discount on all Carolina Challenge Cup tickets.
Group ticket discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. Please call (843) 971-4625 for details.