CHARLESTON, S.C.—Boniek García played a role in all three Houston Dynamo goals with two assists and a penalty drawn against an Orlando City SC team that ended the match with nine men to close out the 2015 preseason.
It is the third Carolina Challenge Cup title for the Dynamo after the club hoisted the trophy in 2006 and 2007. Houston (6 points) eclipsed New York City FC (4 points), Charleston (4 points) and Orlando City SC (2 points) to win the tournament.
Head coach Owen Coyle made two changes to the lineup after Wednesday’s 2-1 win against New York City FC, with David Horst and Leonel Miranda in the team in place of Raul Rodriguez and Alex Lopez.
Garcia opened the scoring in the 27th minute, making a spectacular run from midfield and darting around three defenders and goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts before sliding a deft pass to Will Bruin inside the penalty area for an easy tap in and 1-0 advantage.
Garcia continued to torment Orlando City three minutes later, sneaking in behind the defense to run onto a long ball from Kofi Sarkodie and charge into the penalty area before he was tackled from behind by Aurelien Collin. The Dynamo earned a penalty kick and Collin was issue a red card.
Brad Davis took the penalty and drove his shot into the bottom corner opposite Ricketts’ dive for his second goal in as many games and a 2-0 lead.
With Orlando City reduced to 10 players following Collin’s ejection, Garcia’s impressive performance continued a minute before halftime. The Honduras international slid and stripped Kaka in midfield and then drove forward before feeding Leonel Miranda on the right side of the box. The Argentine calmly feigned a shot with his right foot and pulled the ball back to his left as Ricketts went to ground. Finally, Miranda curled a shot into the far side of the net for his second preseason goal and a three-goal lead.
Houston continued to push after halftime, with DaMarcus Beasley threading a pass down the line for substitute Rob Lovejoy. The rookie crossed for Bruin, and his half volley was blocked.
Orlando City’s chances dwindled further as midfielder Carlos Rivas was issued a red card a minute after entering the game when his arm struck Luis Garrido’s face.
The Dynamo played the remainder of the game with a two-man advantage and finished the game in confortable fashion.
After the win, Houston had to await the result of the second game of the night. New York City FC defeated the Charleston Battery, 3-0, in the nightcap, confirming the Dynamo as champions of the 12th annual preseason tournament.
The Dynamo open the 2015 season on Saturday, March 7 at 7:30 p.m. against Columbus Crew SC at BBVA Compass Stadium. Tickets are available here or by calling 713-276-GOAL.
Houston Dynamo vs. Orlando City SC
Carolina Challenge Cup — Blackbaud Stadium, Charleston, S.C.
February 28, 2015
Houston: Will Bruin 1 (Boniek García 1) 27
Houston: Brad Davis 2 (penalty) 30
Houston: Leonel Miranda 2 (Boniek García 2) 45
Houston Dynamo: Tyler Deric; Kofi Sarkodie, David Horst, Jermaine Taylor (AJ Cochran 72), DaMarcus Beasley (Alexander López 76); Leonel Miranda (Bryan Moya* 76), Luis Garrido (Nathan Sturgis 66), Ricardo Clark (Zach Steinberger 70), Brad Davis (Rob Lovejoy 43); Boniek García (Chandler Hoffman 74), Will Bruin (Jason Johnson 66)
Orlando City SC: Donovan Ricketts; Rafael Ramos, Sean St. Ledger*, Aurélien Collin (ejected 29), Brek Shea; Amobi Okugo, Darwin Cerén, Kevin Molino, Eric Avila (Mena* 34); Kaká (Carlos Rivas 62, ejected 64), Bryan Róchez (Danny Mwanga 66)
ORL: Aurellian Collin (ejection) 29
ORL: Brek Shea (caution) 60
HOU: Leonel Miranda (catuion) 60
ORL: Carlos Rivas (ejection) 64