D.C. United defeated the Charleston Battery 2-0 on Saturday night at Blackbaud Stadium in the final game of the 2009 Carolina Challenge Cup. Second half goals from Luciano Emilio and Andrew Jacobson were the difference, as United finished the annual tournament with a 1-2 record.
The first half was a scoreless affair with both teams creating a handful of half-chances. United had the better of possession throughout – especially as the half wore one – and their best chance to score came in the 34th minute when Clyde Simms struck a rocket from 35-plus yards that sailed just over the cross bar.
United’s first goal came in the 57th minute when a long ball was played out of the back into the Battery’s half of the field. Ange N’Silu rose up over his defender and flicked the ball with his head into the path of Emilio. Emilio collected the ball and carried it past one defender and into the Battery penalty area before striking a low show with his right food that snuck past goalkeeper Keith Wiggans and into the far corner of the net.
The Battery had two good chances to score midway through the second half. In the 67th minute, Nelson Akwari got on the end of a Tsuyoshi Yoshitake free kick and sent a header towards goal. Newly acquired goalkeeper Josh Wicks had to move quickly to his right and make a diving save right on the goal line.
Minutes later, Yoshitake during the run of play sent a deep cross to the far post that found the head of Pedro Faife. His ensuing header was on frame and barely deflected by Wicks who pushed the ball high enough so that it careened off the cross bar.
D.C.’s second tally of the night came in the 81st minute after an impressive combination of passes from the Black-and-Red. The play begin just on United’s half of the field when Brandon Barklage gained possession of the ball. The midfielder fed a pass to Chris Pontius who lofted a ball over a Battery defender to an onrushing Francis Doe in the Battery’s corner. Doe laid the ball back to Barklage who then drove a low ball centrally to a Emilio 20 yards from goal. Emilio trapped the well-hit pass and then laid the ball off to Andrew Jacobson who had advanced up the right side of the field. Jacobson struck the ball with his first touch towards goal and as it careened towards the net took a slight deflection off a Battery player and then past Wiggans.
The 2-0 lead would stand at the final whistle ten minutes later.
Tonight’s game wraps-up D.C. United’s 2009 pre-season. The team departs Charleston at 5 a.m. Sunday morning to return to the District. The guys will enjoy Monday off before gathering again at RFK Stadium on Tuesday to begin preparations for the season-opener against the LA Galaxy.