Neither of the two teams D.C. United fielded against the Charleston Battery of the USL First Division could get the job done, as the two teams played to a 2-2 stalemate Wednesday night at Blackbaud Stadium.
What was essentially United's starting 11 played a young Battery lineup to a 1-1 draw in the first half.
United came out attacking with numbers, and it did not take long for them to strike. Jaime Moreno redirected a corner kick that Mike Petke won in the area in the 10th minute to put the MLS Cup champions on top.
Four minutes later Charleston replied when Greg Simmonds beat Petke to the ball off a long Jason Kutney pass, nodding the ball over stranded United 'keeper Andrew Terris.
United kept up the pressure in the first half. Were it not for the heroics of Battery 'keeper Mike Behonick, the score could easily have been 4-1 at the interval.
"We had four or five really good chances," said United's Ben Olsen. "In a game like this, if you don't finish your chances, they can tie up the game. Otherwise, it's not too bad. We clean up our finishing and we are smiling a lot more."
United coach Peter Nowak made wholesale changes at halftime, replacing all 10 field players.
"We have 28 guys, and they have to be ready to step up," Nowak said. "I was pretty happy with a couple of guys in the second half, and there were a couple of guys that are going to have some things to think about."
To their credit, the Battery played the United reserve side closely. Neither team threatened seriously until late in the half when Uziel Vazquez got on the end of a long Battery clearance and found Battery triaist Boyzzz Khumalo making a far post run. Khumalo made no mistake slamming the ball past a helpless Terris to give the Battery the lead.
But unfortunately for the home side, the lead lasted just 30 seconds. On the ensuing kickoff Freddy Adu took the ball down the left flank and found a streaking Eliseo Quintanilla just inside the penalty area. Quintanilla put his head down and drove the ball past a diving Behonick just inside the far post.
The Carolina Challenge Cup will conclude on Friday with San Jose facing host Charleston, and D.C. playing Columbus. The Earthquakes (1-0-1) lead the tournament on goal differential. Columbus (1-0-1) is in second place, followed by Charleston (0-1-1) and D.C. United (0-1-1).
CHARLESTON BATTERY 2, D.C. UNITED 2
Charleston: Mike Behoink, Drew Cavanaugh, Gabe Bernstine, Allan Woods, Jason Kutney, Josh Smith (Trey Alexander 73), Ugo Okoye (Chris Riley 68), Kevin Jackson (Chris Goos 58), Troy Lesesne (Andres Perez-Matto 55), Alon Lubezky (Boyzzz Khumalo), Greg Simmonds (Uziel Vazquez 55).
D.C. United: Andrew Terris, Brandon Prideaux (Clyde Simms 46), Mike Petke (Tim Merritt 46), Bobby Boswell (David Stokes 46), Steve Guppy (Nana Kuffour 46), Christian Gomez (Freddy Adu 46), Ben Olsen (Tim Lawson 46), Brian Carroll (Eliseo Quintanilla 46), Josh Gros (Nick Van Sicklen 46), Santino Quaranta (Jamil Waker 46), Jaime Moreno (Jason Thompson 46)
Andrew Mosier is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to tha approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.