Charleston, SC. The Charleston Battery defeated the MLS champion Houston Dynamo in a thrilling penalty-shootout Tuesday night at Blackbaud Stadium in front of 3,103. The game finished tied 1-1 after overtime, Charleston played the final twenty minutes with only nine players after two red card ejections. The match was a third round U.S. Open Cup fixture; the Battery will travel to Dallas next Tuesday night to take on FC Dallas in the quarter-finals.
Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear elected to rest his usual starters and fielding a side filled with mostly reserve players Houston struggled to get going.
The Battery dominated the first half of the game and opened the scoring in the 31st minute after earning a free-kick on the left side. Osvaldo Alonso whipped the ball in to Ian Fuller who slipped a header to the back post. Defender Marco Reda ran onto the ball and headed home past Houston goalkeeper Tony Caig.
Houston fought back after half time and came close to equalizing in the 55th minute as Battery midfielder Stephen Armstrong cleared a shot off the line.
Five minutes later Houston forward Franco Caraccio fired in a shot from just outside the box that forced Battery goalkeeper Dusty Hudock to dive to his left and save.
The Battery almost doubled its lead in the 68th minute as Reda again found his way in behind the Dynamo defense from an Alonso free-kick. Reda met the ball at the back post but his volleyed attempt cannoned back off the cross-bar.
Charleston were reduced to ten men midway through the half after substitute midfielder Chris Corcoran was ejected for a challenge on Steve Wondolowski.
The ejection changed the course of the game as Houston pressed forward with the man advantage. The equalizer finally came in the 89th minute as defender Chris Wondolowski headed past Hudock from close range.
In overtime both teams had chances with the Battery’s Alonso causing most of the problems with bursting runs from midfield.
Late in the first period of overtime Charleston’s hopes received a further blow as Reda was sent off. After conceding a free-kick just outside the box Reda was ejected by the referee for arguing the decision..
Charleston hung on for the remainder of the game and defended well as Houston dominated the latter stages.
In the ensuing penalty shoot-out, the Battery was perfect scoring four out of four with goals from Osvaldo Alonso, Stephen Armstrong, Darren Spicer and Tim Velten. Houston defender Geoff Cameron missed and forward Franco Caraccio was denied by Dusty Hudock who saved the final Dynamo PK to lift Charleston to victory.
Charleston advances to the quarterfinals with a win versus the Houston Dynamo for the second year in succession.