CHARLESTON, S.C. – The 2012 MLS Cup runners-up Houston Dynamo closed out their preseason with a 2-1 defeat to USL Pro side Charleston Battery in the finale of the Carolina Challenge Cup on Saturday night at Blackbaud Stadium.
The Dynamo took an early lead when Giles Barnes lashed a right-footed blast into the back of the net in the 16th minute after Cam Weaver successfully laid off a Boniek García chip cross into Barnes’ path.
But just two minutes later Charleston equalized on the transition as forward Dane Kelly fired a shot from 20 yards out which took a deflection and wrong-footed Houston ‘keeper Tally Hall to make it 1-1.
The Dynamo had a chance to take the lead in the 25th minute when a Jermaine Taylor shot off a corner kick was cleared off the line and then 10 minutes later Charleston goalkeeper Odishel Cooper swatted away a Brad Davis penalty kick after Weaver was judged to have been brought down in the box. Cooper came up big again on a Will Bruin volley three minutes before the break.
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In the second half the Dynamo continued to control the match with Charleston proving a constant threat on the break. Houston’s best passages of play came down the right flank with quality service from García.
But two Charleston subs would help the local side get the game-winner as an unmarked Austin Savage scored off a corner kick at the back post in the 74th minute.
Houston’s response was immediate with substitutes Brian Ching and Alex Dixon getting good looks, but they could not hit the frame, allowing the Battery to hang on for a famous victory.
The Dynamo will fly back to Houston on Sunday and get set to host D.C. United in their MLS opener on Saturday, March 2 at BBVA Compass Stadium (8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network).
Goals: 16’ Barnes (HOU), 18’ Kelly (CHA), 75’ Savage (CHA)
Cautions: 35’ Cuevas (CHA), 82’ Ownby (HOU)
Houston (4-4-2, left to right): Hall – Ashe (46’ Chabala), Taylor, Boswell, Sarkodie (78’ Creavalle) – Davis (80’ Ownby), Barnes (71’ Camargo), Moffat (61’ Clark), Boniek Garcia (78’ Dixon) – Bruin (78’ Johnson), Weaver (69’ Ching)
Charleston (4-1-4-1, left to right): Cooper – Wilson (78’ Bardsley), Ellison, Falvey (69’ Ferguson), Griffith (76’ Catalano) – Sanyang (58’ Mueller) – VanShaik (73’ Lundy), Paterson, Cuevas (Cordoves), Azira (Prince) – Kelly (72’ Savage)