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TFC, RSL play for Carolina Cup winner
March 12, 2009, 7:26 AM
Filed under: Carolina Challenge Cup, Real Salt Lake, Toronto FC

Toronto FC and Real Salt Lake each won their second game in the Carolina Challenge Cup on Wednesday evening at Blackbaud Stadium, setting up a winner-take-all showdown for the tournament title this weekend.

Chad Barrett and Dwayne De Rosario each scored in the first half to lead Toronto FC past D.C. United, 2-1, in the first game of the night, then Real Salt Lake got goals from Clint Mathis in the first half and Kyle Beckerman with 13 minutes left in regulation to beat the host Charleston Battery in the second game.

Toronto FC grabbed a 1-0 on Barrett’s header in the 21st minute. Forward Pablo Vitti won the ball at the top of the 18-yard box and fed De Rosario on the left flank. De Rosario crossed the ball into the six-yard box to Barrett, who headed the ball past D.C. United keeper Milos Kocic for the score.

Toronto FC pushed their advantage to 2-0 on De Rosario’s penalty kick in the 33rd minute. Toronto FC midfielder Rohan Ricketts, who scored the winning goal in TFC’s 2-1 win against Charleston Battery to open the tournament, played a ball into the 18-yard box to midfielder Amado Guevara.

D.C. United defender Dejan Jakovic, who received a red card in United’s tournament-opening 3-0 loss Real Salt Lake on Saturday night, tripped Guevara from behind as Toronto was awarded the penalty kick. De Rosario easily beat Kocic with a hard shot to the lower left post.

Toronto FC nearly made it a three-goal advantage in the 40th minute when Ricketts got behind the D.C. United defense on a breakaway after a beautiful through ball from Vitti. Ricketts easily beat Kocic, who came charging out of his net, but the ball just sailed past the right post to end the threat.

D.C. United wasted little time getting right back into the match in the second half and closed to within 2-1 on Chris Pontius’ goal in the 48th minute. Luciano Emilio got the ball and fed it to Thabiso Khumalo sprinting down the right flank. Khumalo then crossed the ball to Pontius, who chipped it past Toronto FC ‘keeper Greg Sutton for the score.

D.C. United nearly tied the game on Francis Doe’s nifty attempt in the 90th minute. Doe got the ball just outside the 18-yard box, eluded one Toronto FC defender, sidestepped another and then blasted a shot on net. However, the ball ricocheted off the post and Khumalo’s rebound effort sailed over the bar.

Real Salt Lake set up the tournament finale with goals in each half to hand the USL First Division their second defeat of the tournament.

Real Salt Lake had an excellent scoring chance in the first 10 minutes when striker Joe Zewe made a strong run down the left flank. Zewe burst past Charleston defender Frankie Sanfilippo inside the 18-yard box and had a clear shot on net, but his attempt snapped off the crossbar.

Mathis gave RSL a 1-0 lead on his direct kick in the 22nd minute from 22 yards out. Charleston defender Nelson Akwari, who played for RSL from 2005-07, took down Salt Lake forward Robbie Findley just outside the 18-yard box.

Mathis, a former University of South Carolina all-American, twisted a shot past Charleston ‘keeper Keith Wiggans for the score.

Charleston appeared to tie the game in 30th minute when Reynier Alcantara knocked in a shot during a scramble after a corner kick. However, the Battery were called offside on the play and the goal was nullified.

The Battery tied the game up in the 49th minute off of Ian Fuller’s direct kick. Charleston forward Darren Spicer was taken down just outside the 18-yard box by RSL defender Tony Beltran.

With the ball set just to the left of the net, Fuller curled the ball around RSL wall and into the near post past keeper Chris Seitz for the score.

Spicer nearly gave the Battery the lead in the 68th minute after a strong run the left flank. Spicer stepped past RSL defender David Horst and had a clear path to the net from about 12 yards out. Seitz came out for the challenge and got just enough of the ball for the save.

RSL took the lead for good on Beckerman’s blast from 30 yards out in the 77th minute. Beckerman won a ball about 35 yards out, took one dribble, and then hitting a dipping volley past Wiggans for the score.

“We feel like even though he’s a guy that plays a little bit more of a defensive position, he can strike from distance,” RSL head coach Jason Kreis said of Beckerman. “Over the course of the season we’re going to be wanting him to score a few more goals.”

In Saturday’s tournament finale, Toronto FC and Real Salt Lake will meet at 5 p.m. ET, followed by D.C. United and the host Battery at 7:15 p.m. in a rematch of the 2008 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final.

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