CHARLESTON, S.C. - A makeshift Columbus Crew dispatched the Charleston Battery of the USL First Division 1-0 on Saturday night in the opening game of the Carolina Challenge Cup, as Edson Buddle's 12th minute goal gave the MLS side the victory.
Buddle's goal came against the run of play as the Battery's high pressure tactics kept the Crew on their heels most of the night. Buddle ran onto a long pass from Simon Elliott and pinballed his way through the Battery back line. After an easy touch around Battery goalkeeper Chris Doyle he slotted home the game-winner.
Elliot nearly doubled the score five minutes later, running onto a Duncan Oughton back heel inside the Battery penalty area before shooting just wide.
Throughout the game the Crew's one-goal lead was precarious, as the expedient Battery counterattack gave the Crew problems all night. On several occasions the home side was unlucky not to equalize, and despite the favorable result Elliott said there was cause for concern.
"We didn't do enough things to get the kind of victory we were looking for," he said. "We still need to get everyone on the same page."
The Crew, which has been blighted by injuries the entire preseason, managed to field only four projected starters for the season opener April 2. To make matters worse, Buddle came off in the 35th minute with an ankle injury. The severity of the injury will be assessed on Sunday.
"Our play was pretty spotty," said Crew coach Greg Andrulis said of the result. "We had trouble dealing with their counterattack. It is something we are definitely going to have to work on for Tuesday."
Columbus faces San Jose on Tuesday in Charleston.
COLUMBUS CREW 1, CHARLESTON BATTERY 0
CLB: Edson Buddle 12 Charleston: Chris Doyle (Mike Behonick 46), Nigel Henry (Gabe Bernstine 69), Tim Karalexis, Alan Woods, Jason Kutney, Andres Perez, Ugo Okote, Chris Goos (Troy Lesesne 55), Josh Smith (Chris Riley 72), Alon Lubezky (Alex Woods 72), Usiel Vazquez (Trey Alexander 89).
Columbus: Bill Gaudette, Taylor Graham, Ryan Kelly, Dominic Mediate, Simon Elliott, Duncan Oughton (Manny Lagos 31), Ross Paule, Jamal Sutton Devin Barclay 46), Marcus Storey (Eric Vazquez 89), Ante Razov (Dante Washington 59), Edson Buddle (Knox Cameron 34).
Referee: Mark Geiger
Andrew Mosier is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.