The Charleston Battery (USL1) topped a reserve-heavy Houston Dynamo 1-0 in extra time Tuesday night in the third round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup at Blackbaud Stadium. The Battery's Stephen Armstrong netted the 108th minute penalty to push the Battery through to the quarterfinals against FC Dallas.
Ian Bennett won the penalty kick after turning Mike Chabala 12 yards from goal. The players made contact, and Bennett went to ground. Dynamo goalkeeper Zach Wells made the initial save on the penalty kick, diving to his left and deflecting the ball off the post and back into play. Armstrong slammed home the ball from close range for the game-winner.
Played in oppressive heat that neared 100 degrees at kickoff and stifling humidity, both teams started out slow. But it was the Battery, with an extra day's rest, that looked the stronger team in the opening minutes of the game, pushing the attack -- albeit slowly -- on the Dynamo.
Armstrong nearly put the Battery in front in the fourth minute after a defensive gaffe by the Dynamo allowed him to saunter into the Houston penalty area untouched. Wells made his first of many important saves on the night, cutting off Armstrong's angle and pushing his shot to the far post wide for a corner kick. Wells came up big again in the 37th minute off a Mike Richardson blast from 20 yards. Diving to his right, Wells got two hands behind the ball but could not hold the shot. But he had little difficulty falling on the rebound.
Looking for a spark -- and to relieve some fatiguing legs -- Kinnear inserted Stuart Holden into the match in the 33rd minute. He made an immediate impact, taking control of an otherwise unorganized Dynamo midfield and nearly scoring in the 42nd minute from 25 yards out. Holden's right-footed drive from the middle of the field was spectacularly tipped over the crossbar by Battery goalkeeper Dusty Hudock, keeping the score level.
Holden was one of a handful regular first team players who saw limited action. The Dynamo took control of the match in the waning minutes of the first half. Several shots just missed their mark, and Hudock came up big twice, saving on Nick Hatzke from point blank range in the 44th minute and on Corey Ashe from 20 yards in added time. Ashe, though, was carried off the field in the 62nd minute after a rough tackle. He is doubtful for Thursday's game at Chicago with a sprained ankle.
Refreshed from a 15 minute air-conditoned respite, both teams came out looking to score in the second half. Both Wells and Hudock made several saves to keep the score level. Twice Wells saved at the feet of Battery attackers as they ran through a weary Dynamo back line. At the other end of the field, Hudock robbed Eddie Robinson's header off a Hatzke free kick.
The goalkeeping duel sent the game into extra time. The game had slowed to a crawl, with both teams effectively playing for penalty kicks, until Bennett turned Chabala in the box and went to the ground. The referee immediately blew the penalty kick despite the objections of the Dynamo defenders.
Armstong stepped up and hit the spot kick to Wells' right. Wells got a piece of the ball, putting it off the post and back into play. He had little chance on the follow-up, however.
Houston had a final chance in the 110th minute. Paul Dalglish, who went all 120 minutes, smacked a ball on frame from 12 yards out, but it was not enough to beat Hudock, who dived to his left and parried the ball to the relative safety of a corner kick.
The Battery will face FC Dallas August 7 at Blackbaud Stadium. Dallas defeated the Atlanta Silverbacks Monday night on penalty kicks to go through. Houston travels to Chicago to face the Fire Thursday in league play. Kickoff is set for 9 p.m. EST on ESPN2.
Houston Dynamo vs. Charleston Battery
July 10, 2007 -- Blackbaud Stadium, Charleston SC
Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup -- Round 3
CHR -- Stephen Armstrong (unassisted) 108
Houston Dynamo -- Zach Wells, Pat Ianni, Ryan Cochrane (Stuart Holden 33, Nate Jaqua 62, Brian Mullan 102), Mike Chabala, Erik Ustruck, John Michael Hayden, Nick Hatzke, Mpho Moloi, Corey Ashe (Eddie Robinson 66), Paul Dalglish, Chris Wondolowski.
Substitutes Not Used: unavailable.
Charleston Battery -- Dusty Hudock, Tim Karalexis, Chris Gores, Louie Rolko, Lazo Alavanja, Gordon Chin, Stephen Armstrong, Mike Richardson (Luke Vercollone 46), Jordan Hughes (Aaron King 70), Michael Todd (Ian Bennett 46).
Substitutes Not Used: unavailable.
CHR -- Stephen Armstrong (caution) 33
HOU -- Erik Ustruck (caution) 69
CHR -- Gordon Chin (caution) 88
HOU -- Paul Dalglish (caution) 108
Referee: Shane Moody
Referee's Assistants: unavailable
4th official: unavailable
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial