Crew opens Carolina Challenge Cup with 2-2 draw to Battery

Gaven and Mirosevic tally for Black & Gold in the draw to Charleston

The Columbus Crew drew the Charleston Battery 2-2 in their first match of the Carolina Challenge Cup at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, S.C. on Saturday night. Eddie Gaven opened the scoring early on and Milovan Mirosevic converted a penalty while the Battery’s Dane Kelly and Jose Cuevas (also a penalty) tallied for the home team. The Black & Gold finished the match down a man as Carlos Mendes was sent off in the 89th minute after earning a second caution.
 
The Crew came out very strong controlling the tempo in the first half. In the fifth minute a free kick by Mirosevic found Chad Marshall on the far post. The ball hit the post and ricocheted to Mendes who shot it point blank into the hands of Battery keeper Alec Kann.
 
A minute later Ethan Finlay squared a ball to an oncoming Gaven who easily tucked it to the right of Kann for the 1-0 lead.
 
The Crew would continue to control pace and create chances as a cross from Gaven in the 12th minute was narrowly headed wide by Crew forward Olman Vargas.
 
The first test for Black & Gold keeper Andy Gruenebaum came in the 38th minute when he was forced to make a quick save on a flick by Battery defender Colin Falvey. In the 40th the Battery drew level after a quick tap in by Dane Kelly off a cross by Jose Cuevas.
 
Ten minutes into the second half the Crew gained an opportunity to get back on top as the referee awarded a penalty after a clash between the Battery’s Charlie Romero and Emilio Renteria. Mirosevic easily converted from the spot in the 58th giving the Black & Gold the 2-1 lead.
 
Both teams continued to attack with the Crew trying to control the match and add to the advantage. Tommy Heinemann, returning to Blackbaud for the first time after winning the USLPro championship with Charleston in 2010, had a clear chance alone in front of Kann only to see the Battery keeper deny him the shot in the 79th
 
In the 89th minute, however, Mendes was called for fouling Charleston forward Sallieu Bundu in the box and the referee awarded a penalty to the home team. Cuevas took the shot and beat Gruenebaum fixing the final score at 2-2.
 
The Crew now faces the Chicago Fire, who lost to D.C. United 1-0 in the opening match of the tournament earlier in the day, on Wednesday, February 29, at 5 p.m. The match will be streamed live on www.thecrew.com.
 
Columbus Crew 2, Charleston Battery 2

Carolina Challenge Cup – Blackbaud Stadium, Charleston, S.C.                           
Saturday, February 25, 2012

Scoring Summary:

CLB – Eddie Gaven (Ethan Finlay) 6
CHS – Dane Kelly (Jose Cuevas) 40
CLB – Milovan Mirosevic (penalty kick) 58
CHS – Cuevas (penalty kick) 89

Misconduct Summary:

CHS – Colin Falvey(caution) 30
CHS –Tony Tchani (caution) 42
CLB – Carlos Mendes (caution) 45
CLB -- Tony Tchani (caution) 61
CLB -- Mendes (caution, ejection) 89

Lineups:
Columbus Crew – Andy Gruenebaum, Sebastian Miranda, Chad Marshall, Carlos Mendes, Shawn Francis (Nemanja Vukovic 46), Eddie Gaven, Tony Tchani (Danny O’Rourke 61), Milovan Mirosevic (Cole Grossman 84), Ethan Finlay (Aaron Horton 82), Olman Vargas (Kirk Urso 46), Emilio Renteria (Tommy Heinemann 70)

Charleston Battery – Alec Kann, Mark Wiltse (Greg McNamara 46), Colin Falvey (Cody Ellison 46, Luca Bellisimo 51), Kyle Hoffer, Sean Flatley (Charlie Romero 46), Fuad Ibrahim (Sean Bateau 46), Cordell Simpson (Taylor Mueller 46), Jose Cuevas, J.C. Mack (Orlando McBayne 63), Dane Kelly, Zach Prince (Salieu Bundu 76)

Referee: Elias Bazakos
Referee's Assistants: Mark Buda, Daniel Thornberry
4th Official: Jose Carlos Rivero

Attendance: 5,676