CHARLESTON, S.C.—An opportunistic strike in the 69th minute from substitute Austin Savage doomed the Houston Dynamo to their second consecutive preseason loss in a 1-0 result at the Carolina Challenge Cup.
The Dynamo created one of their best chances in the 21st minute, when Boniek García poked away a Battery pass in the offensive third. The Honduran picked up the turnover and chipped a pass into the penalty box to an open Chandler Hoffman, who tried to beat the goalkeeper first time with a volley from the pass but mishit the shot.
Charleston created chances of their own as well, including a point-blank shot from Dante Marini half an hour in that Dynamo goalkeeper deftly blocked to keep the teams on level terms.
Four minutes into the second half, Boniek played captain Brad Davis into the box but the midfielder was seemingly chopped down from behind as he received the pass, but the center official waved off any penalty claims on the tackle.
The deadlock broke in the 69th minute. The ball bounced around between Dynamo defenders and Savage at the top of the box, when it popped up fortuitously in the substitute striker's path. He took his chance well, sneaking the snap shot past a diving Willis at the near post for the lead.
Houston's substitutes pushed for an equalizer, with Alexander López feeding a cross to Rob Lovejoy six yards from goal only for the resulting shot to be blocked for a corner kick six minutes from full time. López played creator again four minutes later, nutmegging a defender on the endline and squaring a pass to a teammate for another blocked shot.
The loss moves the Dynamo's preseason record to 3-2-1. The team next faces MLS expansion team New York City FC on Wednesday at 4 p.m. CT in the second of three matches in Charleston.
Houston Dynamo at Charleston Battery
February 21, 2015 — Blackbaud Stadium, Charleston, S.C.
Carolina Challenge Cup
Charleston: Austin Savage (unassisted) 69
Houston Dynamo: Joe Willis; Kofi Sarkodie (David Horst 58), Raúl Rodríguez, Jermaine Taylor (AJ Cochran 58), DaMarcus Beasley (Corey Ashe 66); Brad Davis © (Rob Lovejoy 78), Nathan Sturgis (Zach Steinberger 58), Luis Garrido, Boniek García (Leonel Miranda 78); Chandler Hoffman (Alexander López 58), Will Bruin (Giles Barnes 58)
Charleston Battery: Odisnel Cooper; O’Brian Woodbine, Shawn Ferguson, Taylor Mueller, Quinton Griffith; Maikel Chang, Jarad van Schaik, Justin Portillo, Dante Marini, Zach Prince; Dane Kelly
HOU: Luis Garrido (caution) 40
CHS: Andy Reimer (caution) 78
HOU: Zach Steinberger (caution) 89