For the Houston Dynamo, it is all about eliminating mistakes at this point in the preseason. But a mistake is what cost them a late goal to the Charleston Battery in Wednesday’s nightcap of the Carolina Challenge Cup. A Zach Wells blunder resulted in a 1-1 draw and, in the process, made the Orange’s quest for a third straight Challenge Cup title a little more difficult.
The Dynamo got on the board in the 17th minute after the USL Division One side conceded a free kick on the left flank. Stuart Holden’s out-swinging free kick found Ryan Cochrane’s head as he rose above the pack of defenders just outside the six-yard box. Cochrane’s snap header left Battery goalkeeper Dusty Hudock helpless as the ball slammed against the back of the net.
In the 27th minute, Houston was unlucky not to double its lead when Kevin Goldthwaite slammed a shot off the crossbar. Alejandro Moreno was equally unlucky not to connect on the rebound.
The tide began to turn in the Battery’s favor with the beginning of the second half. Charleston made several strong runs on goal and had Houston on its heels as coach Dominic Kinnear began toying with his lineup, inserting Dwayne De Rosario and Brian Ching, both of whom had been away from the team with national team duty.
Neither Ching or De Rosario were effective as substitutes, as they were both forced to fall into a defensive posture as the Battery continued to push the attack. The Battery finally pulled level in the 83rd minute off a looping ball played into the penalty area by defender Tim Karalexis. Wells raced well out of his goal, losing the challenge to the Battery’s six-foot-six Jamaican international Newton Sterling. With Wells well out of his goal, Sterling nodded the ball over the flailing Wells, who could do nothing but watch it bounce across the line for the equalizer.
“It was a bad decision,” Wells said. “It’s something you have to learn from.”
The draw keeps Houston in first place in the CCC standings after its convincing 2-0 win over Toronto last Saturday. Toronto holds second place with a 1-0-1 tournament record after beating New York 2-1 on Wednesday. New York and Charleston hold third and fourth place, respectively. The tournament concludes Saturday when Charleston takes on Toronto at 6 p.m. followed immediately after with Houston and New York at approximately 8:15.
Houston Dynamo (1-0-1) vs. Charleston Battery (0-1-1)
March 28, 2007 -- Blackbaud Stadium, Charleston SC
Carolina Challenge Cup
HOU -- Ryan Cochrane 2 (Stuart Holden 1) 17
CHR -- Newton Sterling 1 (Tim Karalexis 1) 83
Houston Dynamo -- Zach Wells, Craig Waibel (Mike Chabala 64), Ryan Cochrane, Eddie Robinson (Pat Ianni 48), Kevin Goldthwaite, Chris Wondolowski (Brian Ching 72), Kelly Gray, Brad Davis, Stuart Holden (Corey Ashe 84), Paul Dalglish, Alejandro Moreno (Dwayne De Rosario 48).
Charleston Battery -- Dusty Hudock, Tim Karalexis, Brandon Curran, Chris Gores (Lee Sandwina 46), Anthony Catalano, Lazo Alavanja (Louie Rolko 72), Armando Romero (Chris Stone 84), Luke Vercollone (Ian Bennett 46), Ian Fuller (Adam Acosta 85), Jordan Hughes, Aaron King (Newton Sterling 46).
HOU -- Eddie Robinson (caution) 46
CHR -- Ian Fuller (caution) 66
CHR -- Chris Stone (caution) 87
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial