D.C. United Blanks Battery.

CHARLESTON, SC — The Charleston Battery closed out the 2009 Carolina Challenge Cup falling to Major League Soccer’s D.C. United 2-0 Saturday night at Blackbaud Stadium. Real Salt Lake claimed the tournament title in the night’s opening match, topping Toronto FC 2-1.
“Overall, I’m pleased,” said Battery coach Mike Anhaeuser. “We found out some good things, and found out some things we need to work on before we open the season in three weeks.”

The Battery kicks off the season April 11 at defending USL-1 league champions Vancouver, opening league play at Blackbaud Stadium a week later, hosting Montreal April 18.

D.C. United, winless in CCC play and having scored only one goal going into Saturday’s match, fielded a mixture of first team players and reserves versus the Battery. As he had done in the Battery’s previous two tournament matches, Anhaeuser made wholesale changes to the lineup at halftime to allow the nearly dozen players fighting for roster spots the opportunity to prove themselves.

The two clubs traded innocuous shots in the opening minutes before the match fell into a midfield battle slowly won over with the experience of Christian Gomez and Clyde Simms, two probable starters for United when the season opens next weekend, giving United the run of play in the last quarter hour of the half.

The loss of experience and continuity cost the Battery in the 57th minute when Luciano Emilio opened scoring on the night, beating halftime substitute goalkeeper Keith Wiggans to the far post after running onto an Ange N’Silu flick at the top of the penalty area.

Nelson Akwari nearly put his name on the score sheet in the 67th minute getting on the end of a Tsuyoshi Yoshitake free kick, forcing halftime substitute goalkeeper Josh Wicks to make his first save in a D.C. United uniform.

The Battery came right back at Wicks. Again it was Yoshitake on the right flank, sending a cross into Pedro Faife in the six-yard box. Faife’s was tipped by Wicks and slammed off the crossbar and back into play before it was cleared away.

Andrew Jacobson doubled United’s lead in the 82nd minute with a right footed blast from 30-plus. The shot took a partial deflection as it went through a crowded penalty area, leaving a diving Wiggans helpless as the ball went the other way.

The win moved United ahead of the Battery on the CCC table for third place.

Real Salt Lake 2 – Toronto FC 1

RSL began the match taking a direct approach, using the speed of forwards Robbie Findley and Yura Movsisyan. In just the second minute Findley was unlucky not to have his first goal of the tournament, running onto a long ball played from but back but could not get enough behind his shot to beat Toronto goalkeeper Stefan Frei.

Three minutes later Movsisyan got the better of Frei, running through the TFC offside trap onto an arcing ball played from the center circle by Javier Morales. Movsisyan finished the opportunity for his second goal in the CCC.

Clint Mathis doubled RSL’s lead in the 20th minute, slamming home a low cross from inside the six-yard box from Findley.
TFC was further handicapped minutes later when defender Kevin Harmse was issued his second caution in 10 minutes for pulling Findley’s jersey, forcing TFC to play a man down.

“I thought it was a fantastic start,” Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis said. “We were giving them all kinds of trouble. Some of the troubles we gave them, I think, ended up resulting in getting their player ejected. They were having trouble with our two forwards all night.”

With a two-goal and one-man advantage, RSL assumed a more defensive posture for the last 15 minutes of the half, conceding the midfield, which allowed TFC to attack more freely. After several opportunities, Dwayne De Rosario pulled TFC one back in the 37th minute, netting his third goal in three CCC games.

The goal came after Chris Wingert headed an Amado Guevara free kick off the line. Carl Robinson put the ball back in the goalmouth for De Rosario to finish.

RSL joins Columbus, San Jose, and Houston as winners of the preseason tournament. Four of the past five champions have gone on to win one of Major League Soccer’s two trophies the same year as winning the CCC.

2009 Season Tickets
2009 Charleston Battery season ticket packages are on sale now; packages include reserved seating for all 15 regular season games and start at only $150. There are a limited number of Three Lions Club memberships available; TLC membership includes preferred seating, tickets to all regular season, US Open Cup and post-season games, complimentary parking and a catered pre-match buffet. Season Ticket holders also receive a 50 percent discount on tickets for the 2009 Carolina Challenge Cup featuring Major League Soccer’s DC United, Real Salt Lake; to purchase season tickets or to request more information please call (843) 971-GOAL (4625) or visit www.charlestonbattery.com.

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