For 70 minutes, we watched D.C. United's second-choice players run even with the USL PRO's Charleston Battery at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, S.C. United controlled some spells thanks to tidy play from Victor Munoz and Jared Jeffrey in the midfield and strong work from Michael Seaton up top. The Battery controlled some spells thanks in part to some less than industrious running by trialist Reuben Ayarna. Collin Martin entered at halftime, and apparently brought some stick-em on his shoes, which the second-year United man used to good effect in dribbling through traffic. But neither side could muster the quality to break though in the first hour and change.
For the last 20 minutes of the game, Ben Olsen ran out his First XI, each of whom played roughly 75 minutes on Saturday against Houston. For the first 15 of those 20 minutes, the Black-and-Red looked exactly like they should against a third-division team, holding the ball in Charleston's end and besieging the Battery net. Almost immediately, Luis Silva turned a free kick 40 yards from goal into the game's first score. Davy Arnaud claimed credit for deflecting the ball in at the back post, but the view on the online stream was inconclusive. Only a shocking Eddie Johnson miss from 6 yards and a spectacular save from the home side's 'keeper kept the game close.
And, of course, United would come to regret those spurned chances. In stoppage time, with the incredibly spotty online stream out of commission (for the umpteenth time during the game), the Battery won a corner kick, which they converted into the equalizer. Based on Twitter reports and his less than perfect performance controlling his box during the second half, I'm going to guess that GK Joe Willis could have done better on the play.
The late concession was not the worst news of the night, though. That came late in the first half when rookie homegrown player Jalen Robinson pulled up lame with an apparent hamstring issue. After the game, Olsen said he expected Robinson to be out for around a month.
The draw puts United even on four points with the Seattle Sounders in the hunt for the Carolina Challenge Cup title. The Black-and-Red will meet the Made-Up-Shade-of-Green this coming Saturday with preseason glory on the line. A draw will clinch a second consecutive Challenge Cup for United, as they lead Seattle in goal differential, +2 to +1.
From what you could see in this match, what's your take on D.C.'s performance? Let us know in the comments.