D.C. United continued play in the Carolina Challenge Cup with a 1-0 win over the Chicago Fire on Wednesday, March 9 in Charleston, S.C. The victory bumps United's preseason record up to 7-0-1, and keeps the Black-and-Red in pole position for the 2011 Challenge Cup title. Ben Olsen's side will round out preseason play over Toronto FC on Saturday, March 12 at 5:00 p.m. Should D.C. defeat the Canadian side, the club will claim its second consecutive Challenge Cup.
Playing an entirely different first 11 from the team that defeated the Charleston Battery on March 5, Olsen partnered Charlie Davies and rookie Blake Brettschneider on the frontline. The former University of South Carolina player has made the most of his limited opportunities throughout United's 2011 training camp, and Wednesday evening was no different.In the 10th minute, captain Santino Quaranta swung in a lofted ball from the left side during a free kick, and Brettschneider elevated above Chicago's backline to put United in front 1-0. Said the young striker, "It was a great ball from Santino [Quaranta], and all I had to do was redirect it. It felt good to help the team out." The strike was Brettschneider's fourth goal for the club since being selected in the 2011 MLS Supplemental Draft on January 18. He is currently second on United's roster in goals scored, trailing only Joseph Ngwenya's five tallies.
Chicago tried to climb back into the contest but were undone by Diego Chaves, as the forward put in a reckless challenge on Fred in the 37th minute. Chaves was sent dismissed for his actions, leaving Chicago with a one-man disadvantage for the remainder of the contest.
United made only one substitution to start the second half, as netminder Joe Willis replaced Pat Onstad in goal. The Black-and-Red maintained a strong defensive showing throughout the contest, leaving little work for either goalkeeper. Chicago made matters interesting in the 90th minute, when Rodrigo Brasesco was cautioned for a rash challenge inches outside of his own area. However, the subsequent free kick was collected by Willis, allowing United to hang onto a 1-0 victory.
Saturday's last Carolina Challenge Cup match will once again take place at the home of the Charleston Battery, Blackbaud Stadium. The 5:00 p.m. kickoff can be seen via live stream on dcunited.com.
- D.C. United - Brettschneider 10' (Quaranta)
- D.C. United - Davies (caution) 34'
- Chicago Fire - Cahves (ejection) 37'
- D.C. United - Shanosky (caution) 76'
- D.C. United - Brasesco (caution) 89'
Onstad (Willis 46'); Burch, Brasesco, White, Barklage; Fred (Shanosky 68'), Morsink (Kitchen 79'), King, Quaranta (Najar 79'); Davies, Brettschneider
Conway; Anibaba (Segares 41'), Mikulic, Gibbs; Ristic, Husidic (Videira 69'), Pause (Barouch 86'), Pappa (Bone 73'), Paul (Nyarko 56'); Puerari (Ferrari 41'), Chaves (Red Card 37')
REFEREE: Juan Calos Rivera