2009 Carolina Challenge Cup Teams Set.

Charleston, SC. The Charleston Battery will square off with DC United in a re-match of the 2008 U.S. Open Cup final during the 2009 Carolina Challenge Cup to be held at Blackbaud Stadium, Charleston SC, March 7 – 14. United defeated the Battery 2-1 in last year’s national championship game, the match was played at RFK Stadium in Washington DC.

DC will join two other sides from Major League Soccer, Toronto FC & Real Salt Lake plus the USL First Division’s Charleston Battery for the prestigious pre-season tournament. Toronto returns for a third consecutive tournament appearance while Real Salt Lake make a first ever visit to Blackbaud Stadium. 2009 marks the sixth consecutive year that the Charleston Battery has hosted the Carolina Challenge Cup.

“Once again the organization has brought together three fantastic teams from Major League Soccer and as in past years this will be a great test for the Battery players as we begin to build for our season,” said Battery head coach Mike Anhaeuser. “It is good have Toronto back again and also to welcome Salt Lake for a first visit. I am also looking forward to having DC United back in Charleston as our games in the past, including last year’s cup final have always been exciting matches.”

All three MLS teams will spend the week in Charleston, SC, training between the games as they prepare for the start of the Major League Soccer season.

The competition format will remain unchanged in 2009 with three match day’s each featuring a double-header. The games will be played on Saturday (March 7) – Wednesday (March 11) – Saturday (March 14), with each team playing the other in a round-robin tournament.

DC United

The match versus DC United gives the Charleston Battery an opportunity to reverse the result from last year’s Cup Final. The Open Cup win capped a mixed season for United who just missed the MLS playoffs and also suffered an early exit from the CONCACAF Champions League. However the U.S. Open Cup victory guarantees DC entry into the 2009 Champions League tournament.

United returns to the Carolina Challenge Cup for a fourth appearance; DC participated from 2004 – 2006 but has never lifted the trophy. United’s roster includes two designated players, Brazilian striker Luciano Emilio and Argentinean midfielder Marcelo Gallardo.

Toronto FC

Despite a second stellar season at the turnstiles that saw anther 15 consecutive sell-outs Toronto F.C. missed the MLS post-season finishing in 7th position in the Eastern Standings albeit just four points outside the playoffs.

Led by second year head coach John Carver, TFC bolstered its roster during the off-season acquiring Canadian striker and two-time MLS Cup MVP (2001, 2007) Dwayne De Rosario. This is the third consecutive year that TFC will have visited Charleston for its pre-season.

Real Salt Lake

Real Salt Lake makes a first ever visit to Charleston for this year’s Carolina Challenge Cup; the tournament will also mark the first time that RSL has squared off against the Charleston Battery. Real Salt Lake joined MLS in 2005 as the leagues 12th team, last summer RSL celebrated its third season with the opening of a new soccer-specific facility, Rio Tinto Stadium.

RSL also enjoyed considerable success on the pitch in 2008. After finishing third in the Western Conference Salt Lake advanced to the Western Conference championship (MLS Cup semifinal) but lost 1-0 to the New York Red Bulls.

Carolina Challenge Cup Tickets

Tickets for the 2009 Carolina Challenge Cup are on sale now with prices frozen at 2008 levels. Fans can purchase tickets for each doubleheader or for the six match series. Tickets for single doubleheaders (includes two games) are priced at $25 Club / Box & just $15 bleacher.

Carolina Challenge Cup past participants and winners
Bold denotes tournament winner

2004

Charleston Battery (USL1)
Columbus Crew (MLS)
DC United (MLS)
Wilmington Hammerheads (USL2)

2005

Charleston Battery (USL1)
Columbus Crew (MLS)
DC United (MLS)
San Jose Earthquakes (MLS)

2006

Charleston Battery (USL1)
DC United (MLS)
Houston Dynamo (MLS)
MetroStars (MLS)

2007

Charleston Battery (USL1)
Houston Dynamo (MLS)
New York Red Bulls (MLS)
Toronto FC (MLS)

2008

Charleston Battery (USL1)
New York Red Bulls (MLS)
San Jose Earthquakes (MLS)
Toronto FC (MLS)

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