Houston came into this game looking for their first win of the tournament and they found it with a couple of goals back-to-back late in the game. Vancouver started the scoring off in the 27', capitalizing on a huge defensive mistake by the Houston Dynamo. The Dynamo's defense played a weak ball back to their keeper allowing Vancouver forward, Corey Hertzog to charge in and steal the pass; Hertzog rounded the corner and snuck it past Whitecap goalie, Tally Hall. Houston did not get an equalizer until the 75' minute when forward Will Bruin finished on a nice through ball. Houston quickly struck again with a pellet by Adam Moffat from distance to beat Brad Knighton top right at the 77'.
Houston held on in the final minutes to secure a 2-1 victory over Vancouver and now holds sole possession of second place in the tournament behind Chicago. Vancouver will be a close third going into Saturday's games with the Charleston Battery sitting in fourth position.
Game two of the Carolina Challenge Cup ended in an unfortunate loss for the Battery in extra time, dropping them into fourth place of the tournament and giving Chicago the opportunity to grab the number one spot.
Chicago was pressing early and had a clear size advantage over the Battery, but it was the Battery that landed the first blow in this match. At the 11' Jose Cuevas received a nice through ball from Nicki Paterson and finished it with ease to beat Chicago Keeper, Paolo Tornaghi.
The Fire kept attacking with numbers and after a couple missed opportunities they got the equalizer at the 27'. Defenseman Austin Berry headed a ball from Joel Lindpere into the lower right side of the net just out of reach of Charleston keeper, Kevin Klasila.
The game remained level at one going into half after a missed shot by Charleston's Dane Kelly at 29', and a blast off the left post by Chicago at the 38'. Nicki Paterson added another opportunity stemming from a Battery free kick but put it just wide of the net in the 45th minute of play.
Chicago came out gunning in the second half with some early opportunities and a noticeable difference in their pace. In the 85' a short corner from Chicago looked like it could be the go ahead goal, but the Battery held on to keep it tied through regulation.
The Fire had the last laugh in this match as Alex blasted an absolute rocket into the right side netting in extra time to secure the game winner and lift Chicago into first place.
Although the Fire had a size advantage, the Battery did a nice job of equaling the playing field with speed. Charleston moved the ball well and was able to rattle Chicago's offensive game plan early on in the contest. Chicago capitalized on an opportunity late in the game and there simply was not enough time for the Battery to respond.
Scoring Summary Goal (Assist) Minute
Chicago Berry (Lindpere) 27'
Alex (Santos) 90'
Charleston Cuevas (Paterson) 11'
Chicago: Paolo Tornaghi, Logan Pause, Arne Friedrich, Austin Berry, Jalil Anibaba, Dilly Duka, Jeff Larentowicz, Joel Lindpere, Patrick Nyarko, Chris Rolfe, Sherjill MacDonald
SHOTS: 18; SAVES: 0; FOULS: 10; CORNER KICKS: 4; OFFSIDES: 0; YELLOW CARDS: 1
Charleston: Kevin Klasila, Mike Azira, Colin Falvey, Cody Ellison, John Wilson, Quinton Griffith, Amadon Sanyang, Jarad Van Schaik, Nicki Paterson, Jose Cuevas, Dane Kelly
SHOTS: 6; SAVES: 3; FOULS: 13; CORNER KICKS: 2; OFFSIDES: 2; YELLOW CARDS: 1