The Dynamo will take on a familiar foe on Saturday when they open the Carolina Challenge Cup against the Chicago Fire at Blackbaud Stadium at 4 p.m. CT. The two teams met four times last year, including in the MLS Cup Playoffs Knockout Round. The Fire held a 1-0-2 advantage during the three regular season matches, but the Dynamo won the match that counted the most, defeating Chicago 2-1 on October 31 at Toyota Park to advance to the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Dynamo at Carolina Challenge Cup
Blackbaud Stadium, home of the Charleston Battery and the Carolina Challenge Cup, has been kind to the Dynamo. Houston is 4-0-2 all-time in the tournament and won the 2006 and 2007 editions. The Dynamo have also outscored their opponents 10-3 in their six previous Carolina Challenge Cup matches.
The Dynamo have also been regular visitors to Blackbaud Stadium having played the Charleston Battery in the 2007, 2008 and 2009 editions of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The Dynamo lost the first two matches against Charleston but won the 2009 match 4-0.
Dynamo in 2013 preseason
The Dynamo enter Saturday's match with a 5-2-1 preseason record. Houston is 1-0-2 against MLS competition, with the lone win coming against the Colorado Rapids in the Desert Friendlies in Tucson.
The Dynamo head to South Carolina with 27 players. The only players not with the team are Omar Cummings and Calen Carr, both of whom are still recovering from injuries. Trialists that are with the squad include defenders Mike Chabala, Jimmy Nealis and Anthony Arena and midfielder Franck Songo'o. Bryan Salazar, who recently signed a homegrown contract with Houston, flew to Charleston today to join the squad for Saturday's match.
All matches at the Carolina Challenge Cup will be streamed at www.USLnation.com. For today's match, Dynamo radio broadcaster Matt Pedersen and Chicago-Fire.com Editor-in-Chief Jeff Crandall will provide match commentary.
For fans who won't be near a computer, you can follow the play-by-play for all Dynamo matches at Twitter.com/DynamoMatchday.