The San Jose Earthquakes did all they could do to assure themselves the Carolina Challenge Cup title Friday when they defeated the host Charleston Battery 1-0 on a late Brad Davis goal.
The game winner was the third goal of the tournament for Davis, obtained during the offseason from FC Dallas.
After using close to his starting 11 in the opening two matches of the tournament, a 2-0 win against D.C. United and a 1-1 draw against Columbus, Earthquakes coach Dominic Kinnear fielded a side of mostly reserves against the USL First Division side.
"I played the guys who hadn't got to see a lot of time this week," Kinnear said.
Davis and fellow first teamer Wade Barrett were sent on in the 66th minute with hopes they would spark the San Jose attack that had done little up to that point. The move paid off.
In the 86th minute, Davis punished the Battery for undisciplined defending. Charleston midfielder Ugo Okoye failed to clear a San Jose corner, instead trying to beat Davis inside his own penalty area. Davis stripped him of the ball, took a couple of touches and drilled his shot just inside the far post of Charleston substitute goalkeeper Mike Behonick.
"The defender took a mistouch and I made a couple moves and got by them and just hit it low and hard to the far post," Davis said.
The young Battery side played the Earthquakes reserves evenly in the first half, though neither team seriously threatened in the opening 45 minutes.
The Battery did have one good chance in the second half. Charleston striker Greg Simmonds tested San Jose 'keeper Jon Conway with a hard-driven ball to his right, but Conway was up to the test, parrying the 25-yard blast wide.
"I thought the back four held pretty well together," Kinnear said. "Brett Rodriguez did really well playing out of position at right back. All in all it was a pretty solid performance back to front."
The win all but wrapped up the tournament title for the Earthquakes, requiring Columbus to beat D.C. United 2-0 in the tournament nightcap.
The game was the Earthquakes final tuneup before the start of the season April 2.
CHARLESTON BATTERY 0, SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES 1
Charleston: Chris Doyle (Mike Behonick 75), Jason Kutney, Tim Karakxis (Troy Lesense 89), Alan Woods, Drew Cavanaugh (Gabe Bernstein 30), Chris Goos (Josh Smith 61), Kevin Jackson, Ugo Okoye, Andrez Perez, Usiel Vazquez (Boyzzz Khumalo), Greg Simmonds (Alon Lubezky 72).
San Jose: Jon Conway, Brett Rodriguez, Ryan Cochrane, Chris Aloisi, Kevin Goldthwaite, Ian Russell (Wade Barrett 66), Tighe Dombrowski, Chris Wondolowski, James Twellman (Brad Davis 66), Roger Levesque (Wes Hart 79), Julian Nash (Alejandro Moreno 79).